What is a sport?

Posted: December 14, 2022

A simple question is surprisingly complicated

Do sports include golf? Synchronized swimming? Chess? Or, are these considered games and hobbies?

“I have respect for chess,” said junior Lily Ziniewicz. “But, I don’t know if I’d call it a sport.”

According to the Oxford dictionary, “A sport is an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” By this definition sports like cheerleading, synchronized swimming, golf, and even chess would be considered a sport. Although, Minnehaha Academy students and the world think differently.

“I don’t consider it [chess] athletic, so no,” first-year Joy Uthmann said. “If it was like a giant chess board and you had to sprint from place to place and move the pieces, sure, but the basic chess board, no.”

Although chess does not involve physical activity, it takes an ample amount of mental strength to play the game.

“My coach argued that chess is a sport because your heart rate is going far faster than playing soccer,” said senior Daniel Midden said. “In addition to that, chess masters are also weirdly in shape because you need to burn off energy in between chess matches.”

After all of those reasons to believe chess is a sport, Midden still believes otherwise.

“I would not consider chess a sport, just because I would say that a sport needs a bit more physical component,” said Midden.

Chess is widely not considered a sport, many turn their heads to other non-physical sports like esports.

“I think a sport is something that takes physical exertion and competition,” said junior Evan Paton.

Paton believes things such as esports should not be considered a sport.

“I don’t think esports is a sport,” Paton said. “It’s a hobby and competition and does not take enough physical exertion to perform.”

Would more popular sports like baseball even be considered sports then? Do they have enough physical components to be considered sports or are they missing something else?

“Soccer players, they’re generally lean, big legs, right?” said sophomore Ben Noble. “They have to run everywhere. Football linemen need a very particular body type. Baseball players though, they can be fat, skinny, tall, short, it doesn’t matter.”

Still, Noble believes that baseball is a sport, although, according to him, it does not deserve the same respect as other sports like synchronized swimming.

“[Synchronized swimming] requires enough cardio, physical strength, and technical skill that I consider it a sport,” said Noble.

There are two things all of these MA students agreed upon, a sport must have physical and technical skills involved.

“A sport must always require technique and athleticism,” Noble said. “[Those] are the two most important deciding factors towards whether a sport is a sport or not.”


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