Mind of Michael: What defines a sport? - The Lookout - LCC's Independent Student Newspaper Since 1959
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Mind of Michael: What defines a sport?

Michael Leek

The Lookout Sports Editor Michael Leek

Michael Leek

By Michael Leek
Sports Editor

I remembered a conversation and/or debate I once had with one of my professors on what classifies as a sport. It began with him asking if Esports and NASCAR should be classified as sports.

My answer was immediately yes, but when he provided his argument and asked me to back up mine, I was stumped.

My question is, “What do we classify as a sport, and where is the fine line we draw?”

The argument against Esports and NASCAR not being a sport is this: humans are not doing the physical work; machines are.

With Esports, the console or computer that one is competing on is what is doing the work. The player is just pushing the buttons, which means there is no actual physical work.

It is the same with NASCAR. The cars are doing the physical work, and the humans are just controlling them.

In the dictionary definition of a sport, it mentions “the physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes”.

Esports have officially been introduced to the Olympics, and will have their own series during that time. Many Olympic athletes did not agree with this decision, saying physical sports activities should be promoted, not ones that require a player to sit down.

I do not believe that Esports or NASCAR are sports, but things of the same nature need to be categorized differently.

Esports and NASCAR both require their own separate skillsets that take time and practice to master. It’s just like the fact that one cannot pick up a basketball and immediately become an NBA player. A random person cannot pick up a controller and become a professional in Esports or NASCAR.

While many Olympic athletes disapprove of Esports, there are even more athletes who approve of it.

I love the idea of Esports being shown on a more national stage and showing video games as a whole in a better light. Meanwhile, NASCAR runs strong and has a fan base that continues to support it.

Now, if we have decided that these two are not sports based on the definition of a sport, what should we classify them as, and what else can fit under this classification?



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