Stop Calling Chess A Sport

Things That Really Qualify A Sport To Be A Sport.


Maxie Eller, Newspaper Managing-Editor

The dictionary definition of sport is an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment. This definition leaves a lot of room for interpretation. There’s a ton of debate over whether certain sports should be considered sports, or just activities. Well, I’m here to say that something is a sport if it requires physical activity, skill, and is part of a competition. 

There are a lot of activities that people claim are sports. Not everything can be considered a sport, otherwise, sports would not be put on such a high pedestal that they are. Where do we draw the line? 

Despite claims to the contrary, chess is not a sport. While it’s true that you exercise your mind and use your hands to move the pieces around the board, it doesn’t require physical exertion. While it is also true that chess games have tournaments and large-scale competitions, it still isn’t a sport. The number of games that you play doesn’t make the activity a sport. It’s the physical aspect of playing a sport that makes it a sport. It should take hours of grueling workouts and practice to play well. 

This also applies to cheerleading. Cheerleading is a sport. A lot of people think that cheerleading shouldn’t count as a sport, but they are completely wrong. It takes so much physical ability to be able to do what cheerleaders do. The International Olympic Committee has voted in favor of adding cheerleading as an Olympic sport. Let’s repeat that. Olympic SPORT. Cheerleaders are required to perform intense physical activities such as flips, jumps, and twists that require skill and stamina. Not just anyone can perform a flip on command or throw their teammates into the air and catch them at any time.  

It has been said that golf doesn’t qualify as a sport either, but it is. Physical activity comes from swinging the golf club which requires a lot more strength than people think. While some people may use golf carts, walking around the course is also a form of physical activity. It takes skill to be able to hit the ball the right way and send it close to the hole. Believe me, golf is no joke. 

Sports also have a component that people often overlook: there has to be competition between two people or two teams. This means that a lot of activities aren’t sports because you aren’t competing against someone else. Mountain biking can only be a sport if you are competing against someone else. Otherwise, it’s just an activity. Sure, it requires physical exertion and a certain level of skill to know when to speed up and when to jump over obstacles on your bike, but there isn’t any competition. By these qualifications for competition, bowling and frisbee golf are sports.

So yes, while the qualifications to be a sport don’t seem to be overly strict, not every activity that we participate in is a sport. That’s why sports have the reputation that they do. Sports are supposed to be physically challenging and take a lot of skill. Not just anyone can perform well in them. Activities need to stay in their own separate category so that we can give sports the recognition that they deserve.