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Monday, February 13, 2006

Luge is not a Sport

The Olympics always bring about an important question: what counts as a sport, and what does not? I think I've come up with three criteria any given activity must embody in order to be considered a sport, in descending order of importance:
  • Must be primarily a physical contest. It can involve strategy, it can involve memorization, but at its core, it is physical.
  • Must have an objective criteria for adjudication.
  • Must include the ability to directly alter the results of your opposition.

Football: Sport. Though there is a lot of strategy, the primary mode of success is to be physically powerful and use technique. You win or lose based on who scores the most points. Half the game is stopping your opponant from scroing.
Golf: Not a sport. Primarily physical, objective criteria, but you have no control over the other players' scores. It is a game, albeit a game you can play in competition with someone else.
Figure Skating: Not a sport. The only criteria it meets is that it's physical. There is no objective scoring, and you can't (Nancy Kerrigan style incidents aside) change another competitor's scores.

One caveat: I realize that officiating has a large effect when it comes to sports like Basketball (Duke, anyone?) and Football (Colts, anyone?), but that's not a flaw with the sport itself, but rather the current technology we have to spot violations of the rules. There are technically rules, even if they're not always enforced uniformly.

cranked out at 3:16 PM | |

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