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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sport or Not

Ryan Valentine scores the goal that keeps Wrex...

Image via Wikipedia

Got this article from the Google. I shared and wrote a quick blurb about why gaming is not a sport.

Then I remembered all the other things that aren’t sports but most people think they are. So, here’s my list of rules for deciding whether or not something is a sport. This is similar to George Carlin’s list, but I feel mine is far more rational.

1. It has to be a game. Running is not a sport. Running is a mode of transport. Nascar, with it’s convoluted point system, could technically be considered a game. Boxing is not a game. Skiing is not a game. Gymnastics and figure skating are not games.

2. There must be a ball, or other similar focal object. Hockey, baseball, rugby, ultimate frisbee all qualify. Nacsar does not.

3. Scoring must be 100% objective. If there is room for debate as to whether something is worth a point, you’re not playing a sport. Anything with a “judge” as opposed to a “referee” is not a sport. A judge decides how many points you get for what you just did. A ref decides if you broke any rules while doing it.

4. Death must be a reasonable risk for a physically fit individual. If you can’t be killed as a direct result of participating in the game, it’s not a sport. Golf is hereby disqualified. No, Nascar is not back in. Heart attack as a result of physical stress does not count. You died because you pushed yourself too hard, not because you were running. If it cannot be said “he would have lived a long life, were it not for baseball,” the death scenario does not qualify the activity as a sport. A baseball to the head can kill a guy. A hockey skate in the throat can kill a guy. If walking to the next hole kills you, golf didn’t kill you: your fat ass did.

5. Armor. If armor is necessary to prevent physical injury or death, you can wear it and still be playing a sport. If it is not necessary and you wear it anyway, you are no longer playing a sport. Bye-bye football. Football is rugby for pussies. There’s no armor in rugby. Football is disqualified. It seems as though this rule is aimed directly at football, and it somewhat is. That being said, I never wear armor when I play football. I play it as a sport (but for rule 7). Hockey has armor because without it the sport would be a meat grinder on ice.

6. You must be an athlete to participate in a sport. A second disqualification for golf and Nascar, and one for curling. Bottom line: if a fat guy can win, it’s not a sport. I suppose that’s another disqualification for football as well. Fat guys win that all the time. Those guys could just as effectively be big, muscley Conans. Then they’d be athletes. But it’s way easier to be fat insntead. Disqualified.

7. No derivative of another game is a sport. Football is a pussy derivative of soccer and rugby. Softball is a pussy derivative of baseball (who’s rules and equipment are different enough from cricket to be considered a different game and not a derivative). Water polo is a wet derivative of… soccer? Basketball? If you want to play baseball, play f&*#ing baseball. Why is there no women’s baseball league? Because women can’t be good enough athletes to play baseball, so they need their own separate game that requires a little less hand-eye coordination and a lot less strength. Some uber-feminists say housewives devalue other women. I say it’s softball players. Here is a set of people who could certainly play baseball (a real sport). But they choose instead to do what is socially appropriate to their gender. Why don’t Americans play soccer and rugby? Because we’re all a bunch of pussies who are more concerned with our physical well-being than with having any real spectacle at the coliseum, so we need our own special sport in which nobody gets hurt and there is time in between things for commercial breaks. Why don’t muggles play quidditch? Well, because we can’t fly.

8. No method of combat or form of racing can ever be considered a sport, regardless of any other qualifications. Fencing is not a sport. Cycling is not a sport. Swimming, bobsled, skiing and shooting are not sports. Rugby is on the line.

If it breaks two or more of these rules, it is not a sport. If it only breaks one rule, I’m willing to discuss, unless it only breaks rule 7 or rule 8. Those are non-negotiable. Softball and fighting need to cease being legitimized with the label of “sport” and start being conceived of as barbaric (softball especially). I’m not above adding rule 9 to disqualify a specific activity. I’m tempted to make rules about specialized equipment and goal areas, but I don’t think they’re necessary.

I don’t mean to say that, because something is not a sport, there’s anything negative about it. It’s just that “sport” has become such a loose categorization that driving around in circles (or in a straight line) is something that most Americans consider a sport. You can be an athlete and not participate in a sport. But you cannot participate in a sport (with any degree of success) without being an athlete. Video games are not a sport, and the mere fact that someone would argue that they are is disgusting.

I mentioned quidditch above, and I will re-mention it here. Quidditch barely makes it as a sport, due to its ridiculous scoring scheme. The game goes on and on, with each goal worth a single point. When the snitch is caught, the team that catches it receives 150 points, making the whole rest of the game pretty much meaningless. Clearly, the strategy here is put your best man as the seeker and your two biggest as the beaters. The beaters should never leave the seeker’s side because he’s the only player that means anything. If he gets knocked off his broom, you lose. The rest of the team can be filled-in with whomever shows up for tryouts, because they don’t matter. It’s like the fat guys in football. They just need to be fat and be able to get in the way. Same with quidditch. You need to be able to ride a broom and stay out of the way, because you’re not scoring 151 points in the time it takes the seekers to catch the snitch. Quidditch is of course summarily disqualified for not being a sport that actual humans can play, but it comes close to disqualification due to general silliness.

I know somebody has a dissenting opinion. Let’s have it. Softball players, tell me how empowering it is to beat other women in a game that no man plays professionally.

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  1. Sorry babe. I hate all sports, so I don't care about baseball versus softball. If I ever need to play softball/baseball, I will pay Courtney to take my place.

  2. Why isn't boxing a game? You get "points" for doing different things, and the player with the most points wins.

    We ALL know that you like balls, but why does a sport have to have a ball?

    While baseball is clearly a sport, I would disqualify it based on your #4 point about death. Yes, you can take a ball to the face :), but that ALSO true in golf. My point is that its SUPER unlikely, its not a "reasonable risk".

    Re: #5 armor. Football and hockey can't be separated based on armor. They are far too similar.

    Fencing is a sport. The ONLY rules of yours that it breaks are no ball and its combat related. Both are weak reasons for disqualification.