OPINION: What is a sport?

What makes a sport a sport? Is it numbered jerseys and a referee with a whistle? This is the way that many people seem to view sports these days. So many people who are members of unconventional “athletics” have their sport brushed off as a hobby or something that doesn’t require any skill; like dancing, marching band, colorguard, frisbee, etc.  
However, according to Google, a sport is “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” As far as it’s known, all of the aforementioned activities are definitely exerting and require tremendous amounts of skill. Dancers spend countless hours practicing and choreographing performances over and over again, often walking away with numerous injuries. The lesser known activities like frisbee require just as much commitment and work as football or baseball. And speaking from experience, people in colorguard dedicate every waking second to it, and often suffer multiple injuries. Despite this, these are always considered simple hobbies or extracurriculars, things you just do in your spare time. Time and time again, people criticize others who participate in these activities for being weak or silly for suggesting that they’re sports. Sophomore Hi-stepper and dancer Natalie Thompson said, “I personally consider dance a sport because we DO work incredibly hard.”  It appears that at every turn football, baseball, and soccer are thrust into the limelight and everything else is cast into the shadows. This is infuriating because so much talent goes unrecognized and unappreciated on a daily basis.  For example, the school’s marching band made it to state last year, and they gave the performance of their lives; yet how is it that this is hardly ever mentioned? “We have to pay the same athletic fee at the beginning of the year,” said sophomore colorguard member Sophie Marek. “And if that’s not enough, waking up every morning and having to do run throughs repeatedly, exercising a bunch of different body parts and doing a bunch of difficult stuff that could make or break you should be a good enough reason. It is a sport!” This isn’t to shame the favored sports. They work hard and they deserve that credit; I’m only trying to emphasize that so many other groups deserve to be recognized as sports. Where is it written that any activity that doesn’t involve physical contact is automatically not a sport? Arguing on this topic is like beating a dead horse, as this has been a debate for ages, yet it doesn’t look like anyone has changed anything. Not classifying these activities as sports not only dissuades the idea that dance, guard and frisbee all require a certain degree of skill and a load of dedication, it also takes away the very important realization that they are all valid activities, not hobbies. It has become such an issue, that when young adults say that they want to pursue a career in dance or anything of that nature, they are mocked and ridiculed; however, when someone else mentions that they want to be a professional wrestler or a football player, for example, they are praised and given encouragement. It makes no sense that all of these skillful and committed students are held at a lower standard of involvement just because they aren’t in any ‘sports’.

Written by Jade Berry

Staff Writer

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