Over the last couple of days, TLF and I have been having a to-and-fro about the definition of a word. Not one of the usual words that couples will disagree about, now, since we don’t actually tend to do that. Not the sort of word that people should actually argue about normally. Just something that results in a little disagreement when certain things are on television.
The word? Sport.
Personally, I think that there are many things out there that are called sports, but aren’t actually sport. Darts and snooker, we both agree, are not sports. Football, rugby and ice hockey, we both agree, are sport1. Those are the easy ones, but there are a few that have resulted in serious disagreement and loss of tea-drinking privilege.
Ice dancing and gymnastics are the strongest points of contention. I hold that they aren’t sport, TLF says that they are. I say that there is too much subjectivity, too little immediate competition and not enough element of gamesmanship; she says that there is sufficient physicality, commitment and discipline required to compete at the highest level to qualify them for sport. I then say that this is nonsense, and say that physical commitment is required to work on a building site, but that doesn’t make plastering a sport. She retorts that I smell like wee and shall be sleeping on the couch. And so it goes on.
However, things were recovered (as is so often the case) by turning on the television to see some coverage on the BBC of ski-cross. And both of us looked at this and said: this is madness. This is excellent. This is somewhat scary. This, in fact, is sport.
1 – although we probably disagree on the relative qualities of the three sports mentioned…
Having worked three years in close proximity to a building site, I have to say that our lads, although perfectly proficient at plastering, are hardly playing at competition level. We may have to look for a new trainer.
Personally I draw the line at the method for choosing a winner. If it involves judges awarding points, then no, sorry, it’s not*. Snooker and darts are therefore sports even if, in the case of darts, a slightly silly one. This is one of the reasons why I hold that body building is not a sport but a beauty pageant. Er, if you like that sort of thing.
*-boxing should return to the days of prize-fighting, where the contestants kept going until someone won outright, the fight was stopped by the ref, or someone gave in.