How to determine a sport

Jimmy Youngblut, Staff Writer

Over my three years as a student at BSM I have participated in many activities. I have also participated in many heated discussions when I mislabeled an activity that contained no physical activity as a “sport.” Activities such as debate, Mock Trial, and speech are commonly controversial; people don’t know how to categorize them. It’s easy to define the term sport as something that contains a physical activity, however even that raises the question of what degree of physical activity would be necessary to call something a sport.

Now this question is something that is continually debated throughout high school, college and in some cases the professional world. We, as people, like to group certain things together and in turn analyze them in groups.

Thus we are constantly searching for the parameters of the word “sport.” I might walk from the parking garage to my cubicle every day, but that doesn’t make me, an office worker, an athlete.

The point is, sorry fellow speechers, speech is not, in fact, a sport. Strictly speaking, speech falls under the category of an activity, and rightly so. This is because of objective versus subjective methods of determining a winner.

If I were to watch a speech round, I might have an idea as to who would come out on top, but there’s no way I could tell for certain who won upon leaving the room; it is completely subjective and opinionated. Soccer, for example, is objective. If a spectator happens upon a few lads kicking a ball around, they can happily (or unhappily) proclaim which side is in fact “winning” over the duration of the game.

Don’t get me wrong though, I’d love to say that everything that is remotely competitive is a sport. It allows certain people (including myself) that are not in any way athletic to claim themselves to be “athletes.”

The only issue with this is the matter of technicality. If we operate on the basis that everything that involves physical movement is a sport, then technically everything we do would be considered a sport. This problem shows us that it really all boils down to how the winner is chosen, whether it is objective or subjective.

Even though certain activities are not classified as “sports” that does not, in fact, devalue the importance of the activities. These activities are just as competitive and valuable for students to participate and succeed in, and can be just as challenging.

Whether or not something is classified as a sport still angers many students. However, regardless of how you feel personally, speech, debate, Mock Trial, and anything else that has a subjective judge, cannot be considered a true sport.