Sport, Game, or Competition: Why it Doesn’t Matter

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Sport, Game, or Competition: Why it Doesn’t Matter

Stamford High Cheerleaders during their halftime routine.

Stamford High Cheerleaders during their halftime routine.

Stamford High Cheerleaders during their halftime routine.

Stamford High Cheerleaders during their halftime routine.

Diana Magarian, Staff Writer

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Is cheerleading a sport? Is golf a sport? Is weightlifting a sport? These are just two of the topics discussed within the age-old debate over which activities qualify as sports or not. Oftentimes, participants in activities that are under question get offended or upset when people voice the opinion that said activity is not a sport. This could be due to the fact that society places such a strong emphasis on athletics. For example, when the United States men’s hockey team upset the Soviet Union 4-3 during the 1980 Winter Olympics, it was not just seen as a victory for the hockey team. There was a great deal of tension between the two nations in prior decades and new conflicts had arisen with the Soviet Union’s 1979 decision to invade Afghanistan—so, the win was seen as a victory for the United States as a nation. Since sports can do something as great as unite a nation during a time of war, it is understandable that the doubt that someone’s activity is even a sport would make one feel invalid as an athlete.

The Oxford Dictionary defines the word “sport” as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” Do with that what you will, but I believe that it does not matter if a physical activity is defined as a sport, game, or competition: as long as there is an understanding of the athleticism, skill, and hard work required to be successful in that activity, it is valid.

Soccer is seen as a sport worldwide. There is no dispute that soccer is a sport. Well, let’s take a look at what it takes to be successful at soccer. Soccer players need to be physically fit, strong, coordinated, skilled, and smart on the soccer field in order to be successful. Golf, on the other hand, is very often dismissed as only being a game rather than a sport. However, in order to be successful at golf you also need to be physically fit, strong, coordinated, skilled, and smart.

Finally, we have a physical activity that is frequently viewed as a competition and not a sport: cheerleading. It is necessary for competitive cheerleaders to be (you guessed it) physically fit, strong, coordinated, skilled, and smart to be successful. Here we have three different physical activities that can all be classified differently, however they all require the same factors in order to be successful.

Whether the physical activity you participate in is classified as a sport, game, or competition, it does not change the fact that the best of the best of these participants have all displayed the same hard work and skill and grit in order to get where they are. Regardless, they are all athletes and should not rely on the word “sport” to feel as though they are one.

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