For the record, Hungry Hungry Hippo is not a sport

Hungry Hungry Hippo
Hungry Hungry Hippos

Now that the Winter Olympics are over, Web Watch will share with our readers the age-old debate that seems to crop up around Olympic season: WHAT IS A SPORT?

So, in order to help lay the debate to rest (or add more fuel to the fire), here are some definitions for you, along with examples of what would be considered a sport – or not – based on these definitions.

To qualify as a sport:

  • there must be competition – whether it be head-to-head or team-based – with a winner and a loser.
  • there must be a definitive black-or-white method to determine the winner
  • the opponent must be actively trying to prevent you from achieving your goal of winning

If the activity is missing one of these bulletpoints, then it is either an activity or a hobby.

  • Snowboard-Cross?  A sport.  It’s a competitive race where the opponent can physically obstruct you from winning
  • Snowboarding freestyle?  An activity.  While challenging and requiring athletic ability, it’s still judged by opinionated judges who may or may not give the same scores to the same run. All arbitrary and not well-defined.
    Snowboardig downhill? A hobby.  Wooo – let’s see who can make it down the mountain first!

We won’t question baseball, football, soccer, lacrosse, water polo, or other team sports that are based on a defined rule structure and scoring methods.   And we certainly won’t be the one to QUESTION WHETHER NASCAR IS A SPORT or if NASCAR DRIVERS ARE ATHLETES or not.  We will leave that highly-touchy subject to NASCAR fans to debate without our help.   (However, we will say that horseracing is a sport, and the horses are the athletes – the jockeys are just along for the ride.)

Still, even if your hungry hippo is actively trying to prevent my hungry hippo from eating all the marbles, and there is a definitive ruleset and winner defined, it ends up that Hungry Hungry Hippo is just a game.  A hobby, nothing more.  Same thing holds for bocce, Jarts, and Blongo Ball.

Twister, on the other hand?  Definitely a sport.