Sports shmorts

So what defines a sport anyway?
Apparently, my predecessor here at the Times claimed that activities such as fishing and hunting did not meet the so-called “criteria” that defines a sport.
I’m just going to put this one out there. According to the Oxford Dictionary, a sport is: an athletic activity; any game or pastime; an outdoor pastime such as hunting or fishing.
So there you have it, fishing and hunting are sports according to the dictionary.
But why is it that some would argue that they are not? Because you’re not tackling people to the ground, hitting them into the boards, running up and down a court or field with a ball, or because you don’t belong to a team?
I don’t think so.
Take golf, for example. I’ve met people who try to argue that golf is not a sport.
Now more than ever, to be a successful golfer, you must master the art of overcoming mental and physical challenges. Hmm, okay, John Daly may be an exception to the rule, with his six-pack of Heineken and half-pack of smokes before a round.
Can’t wait to see him on the Champions Tour.
But look at Tiger, who, when not on the course, spends up to six hours a day working out and practising. Now, if that’s not physical, I don’t know what is.
In golf, you are competing not only against yourself, but against others. How often—in a sport—do you have the ability to do both at the same time?
Golf is a sport that can never be perfected—unless, of course, you shoot an 18 (good luck with that!) But really, the same goes for hunting and fishing.
Something I was very naive about when I first moved here was hunting. I’ve never held a gun—let alone fired one—and I only have tried eating venison once in my life (and hated it).
Don’t get me wrong, my favourite meal is steak (and I won’t eat it unless it’s rare), but I just couldn’t get passed the over-powering taste of deer.
But hey, I’ll try anything twice, and I recently agreed to give it another go, which, at the time of the agreement, I thought would be knowledge enough when it came to trying to understand hunting.
Boy was I wrong. I’ve had the opportunity to witness the amount of skill that goes into hunting. From physically hunting and shooting the deer to loading it up, skinning it (I saw that go down, too, need I say there’s a first and a last time for everything), and prepping the meat.
Now I probably didn’t use the correct terminology, and I know I skipped a bunch of steps. Regardless, hunting is a sport that requires knowledge and patience, and demands a tremendous amount of physical endurance.
The way I see it, a sport is anything that challenges you as an individual or as a team. Something you constantly are striving to do better at. It should be competitive in nature and challenge your physical and mental side—or one or the other.
The sport could be a competition against an individual, a team, or yourself.
But no matter how many definitions society, the dictionary, or the journalist may come up with, there’s never going to be a universal agreement as to what defines a sport.
And really, who cares?

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