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What Constitutes A Sport?

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In today’s society, health and fitness are the craze everyone seems to be riding. From starting a pick-up game with friends to kayaking in the ocean, people are doing everything under the sun to get in shape. While pondering the topic of exercise, I began wondering what differentiates hobbies and sports. Why are certain activities considered sports and other are mere hobbies? The following is a checklist that must be fully addressed before a hobby can be considered a sport.

1. You must break a sweat.

A hobby is something that is done to relax. A sport is something you do in order to increase physical fitness. Thus, in order to qualify as a sport, the activity must be something that requires participants to break a sweat.

2. No relaxing, leisurely activities

If you wake up one weekend and think to yourself, “How can I have fun today?”, chances are you are not participating in a sport. A sport requires rigorous physical activity. It cannot be something that fills the need for rest and relaxation. A perfect example of this is golf. Walking around a grassy nook for five hours – if you, in fact, choose to decline the standard golf cart approach – is not a sport. When people schedule their vacations around an activity, it cannot be considered a sport.

3. Risk

If there is no chance that you might get hurt, it is not a sport. As mentioned before, sports are rigorous and physical. In addition, the people against whom you compete are generally physical as well. So, in sports there is definitely a risk factor associated with it.

4. Training

Engaging in something that does not require extensive training is not a sport. Do you think that Michael Jordan or Derek Jeter simply woke up one morning and thought, I think I will play a professional sport today? No. In their particular cases, they have spent year preparing themselves for the hardships of their respective sports. If you are “playing” something that does not require training, it is not a sport.


5. Ball, Race or Competition

If there is no ball, race or some other type of competition involved, it is not a sport.

6. National or International Competitions

Activities that do not have national or international competitions or ranking systems in any way, shape or form are not sports. Much like the Olympics or the World Cup, national and international competitions are set up for sports. Furthermore, when dealing with these types of competitions, participants and viewers alike can learn who is the best.

7. Organization

A sport must be affiliated with some sort of organization. If a group simply goes out to the backyard and makes up a physical activity with their own self-implemented rules, that is not a sport. A perfect example of this is Four Square. Four Square is a hobby people, not a sport!

A plethora of physical activities exist for physical fitness and amusement alike. However, just because something contains an element of physicality does not mean it is necessarily a sport. Keep in mind that the list above is not all-inclusive, but if your “sport” does not live up these criteria, it is not a sport.

Nishan Wilde is VP of Sales at Robbins Sports and Athletics, an online provider of Portable Scoreboards, Gym Bags and other forms of Athletic Apparel and Equipment