What Constitutes a Sport?

Adeline Holte , Staff Writer

We have all heard the argument, participated in it or watched it from afar. There is an age-old debate that keeps many athletes, sports lovers or even sports haters engaged: what is considered a sport?
There are plenty of opinions. A popular one is that a sport can only be competitive, ruling out activities such as cheerleading or dance. Other opinions state that a sport must be physically exerting, which excludes many competitive activities, like chess, and other activities that focus mostly on brain power.
The argument even goes far enough for some people to claim that competitive activities like horseback competitions and motocross are not sports because it involves controlling something else to do the sport for you, despite the fact that both activities are very physically exhausting. If this is true, then there are only a handful of competitive activities that would be considered actual sports.
Seems sort of ridiculous, right? But it appears that most everyone has an opinion on it. The Google definition states that a sport is a physically exerting competition between an individual or a team, which would make sense. But what about cheerleaders? Being a cheerleader is physically exerting and, in a way, involves competition between the opposite team. So, where do they stand? Is cheerleading a sport or not?
To me, if an activity is competitive, uses physical elements but not full physical exertion, then it is a sport. Yes, I think motocross and motorsports are sports. Same with competitive horseback riding, and competitive dance. No, I can’t say that I think chess or checkers could be a sport (though it is incredibly cool!) because they do not involve anything physical, and are technically boardgames. Cheerleading may be a difficult one to decide on for many people, but in the end, I am more inclined to agree that it is a sport. It is physical, it is technically competitive because there is a rival team involved, and because it takes just as much, if not more practice and routine than the sport they cheer for.
There are plenty of opinions on what constitutes a sport and hearing other people’s thoughts about it always makes an interesting conversation. But just because someone might not consider something a sport, does not make it any less difficult or amazing.