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Gracyn Reed

Dr. Larson and Dr. Snorgrass

IS 363 I 01

18 October 2017

Let’s Define Sports

According to, a sport is defined as, “An activity involving physical

exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for

entertainment.” When I researched said definition, I noticed that underneath the

definition it states, “team sports such as baseball and soccer” followed by, “athletics,

pastime”. So the question I purpose is what does that actually mean for baseball? Is it a

sport? Is it a pastime? Is it a lifestyle?

First I wanted to get some perspectives from some current college baseball

players and see what it means to them. Tyler Raymond is a senior at Avila University

and he said. “[Baseball] is a sport. It takes athleticism and above average coordination

to be successful. Also the competitiveness makes it a sport.” Freshman at Park

University Sam Derks notes that,”[Baseball] is definitely a lifestyle. Everything about it

makes it so: the clothing, the workouts, the body chemistry, the money, the love. If you

really play baseball it begins to become your entire life which makes it more than just a

sport.” I think both guys have interesting perspectives about baseball, ones that I don’t

always think about. When I asked my grandma about baseball she said, “[Baseball] is

definitely a pastime. No one I know is more passionate about baseball than my

generation and older. Baseball is still very much in style today, because my grandkids

play it all the time, but no one loves baseball more than my dad and my husband did.”
This I thought was the most important part of the discussion here. Coming from an older

generation who sees baseball as a pastime, but also knows what this generation has

been putting into baseball, speaks volumes. She is in the generation that has seen both

the “pastime” version of baseball and the “sport” version of baseball, which is exactly

why I felt it was important to get that opinion.

On the first day of class, we discussed what is a sport and decided what is a

sport and what isn’t a sport. Things like dance and cheerleading were included while

cricket and water polo were crossed off. I am now asking myself, “What makes these

not sports and makes baseball a sport?” It takes agility and stamina to tread water and

swim for the entire length of a water polo game and it takes coordination to throw the

ball while doing both of those things; yet, we don’t consider water polo a sport? In an

article in Huffington Post, Jenna Garecht says that, “I believe that dance is a sport

because it has the same components as any other sport. To be able to dance well, one

needs to be flexible, strong, have stamina, have endurance and most importantly have

a love for what they do,”(Garecht, 2013). According to the definition reviewed online,

both water polo and cricket are sports. What makes them less of a sport than baseball?

The other question that is presented is the title of “Olympic Games” yet the language

around that is everyone competes in different sports. Activities, currently, such as

baseball and dance are not included in the Olympics; so, are they sports and things that

are included in the Olympics, like snowboarding or basketball, considered games? What

is the line between one or the other? And who makes the line, decides where each

activity goes, and distinguishes the difference between each side?

Upon further research of this topic, I ran into an article called, “Difference

Between Game and Sport.” It states that a game includes more than one person and a

sport pertains to individuals’ skill and performance. The main takeaway I had is, “A

person participating in a sport is called as athlete or a sports person. A person who

participates in a game is known as player.” The question I still have is, what do we call

them during practice? They wouldn’t be players because practice isn’t a game, so does

that make them athletes? Can baseball be a sport and a game?

Now is when I really got curious if just baseball was the problem or if this kind of

debate occurred in other sports as well. I went back to the drawing board and decided

that the real problem isn’t in baseball. It’s not in football, or soccer, or basketball. The

problem arose when we began to distinguish certain activities not as sports. Dance and

cheerleading are two of the main sports that have been, and still are, the most debated

sports on the topic. As a dancer I used to hear things such as, “Dance isn’t a sport

because it’s individual.” And, “Dance doesn’t count as a sport because you don’t have

to rely on the others to perform your best.” Neither statement is anywhere near true.

Then this show called “Dance Moms” came along. It was a good show, don’t get me

wrong, and the dancers are good, but the show doesn’t depict normal dance life at all

whatsoever. Then the topic of discussion was that those on the show were athletes and

those who aren’t, were not. Even though we worked just as hard as they did, practiced

just as long as they did, and won just as many trophies as they did. If those who exert

physical exertion into an activity 6 days a week totaling almost 30 hours a week aren’t

considered athletes who participate in a sport that nothing makes sense.

Ultimately the media is to blame for this. The media are the ones who say that

the physical activity exerted by females is nowhere near equal to the exertion by males.

The media are the ones who tell us that women’s sports aren’t as exciting as men’s

sports. According to Eileen Kennedy & Laura Hills, “The gendering of the sport media—

the way that men’s sport dominates and women’s sport is sidelined—has attracted

much attention from scholars. Critics have argues that this is inequitable coverage has

the effect of symbolically annihilating women’s sporting accomplishments”( p 4). This

exact statement is also true when it comes to athletes and the media in different

genders. Just like when Cam Newton said, ““It’s funny to hear a female talk about

routes. Like, it’s funny.” This happened when a female sideline reporter asked a

question specifically about the details of football (USA Today Sports). Why does the

media shape they way we think so well without anyone really knowing what they’re

doing? The media has a strange way of working its media magic.

Can we blame the media fully on why we call certain activities sports or not? As

much as I would like to, no we can’t. We, as students and athletes and humans, are

also to blame. We are the ones who also “chose to watch football and call it exciting but

call baseball boring until, ‘something exciting happens’. Soccer is ‘all around boring’ and

there’s nothing worse than getting a neck-ache while watching tennis.” These are only a

few of the things I have heard from my fellow classmates about sports in general. The

main thing I don’t quite understand is why we talk down on our classmates about the

sport they chose. Why should it matter if you play baseball or basketball or run track

and field; it should matter that everyone gets an education while continuing to play the

sport they are passionate about. In fact, at Division III schools, the graduation rate is
87% and around 21% of all students participate in one of the 18 teams on any given

campus. That means 1 out of every 10 students participate in a national championship

(NCAA recruiting), but yet we still call these sports boring, worthless, and even classify

them not as sports.

As a dancer for over 15 years, I have argued many times as to whether I am an

athlete or not. During high school I was practicing over 30 hours a week—not one

football player do I know to this day practices as much as I did. Between being on my

high school dance team and dancing outside of school at my studio, I was either asleep,

at dance, or at school. It forever will aggravate me when people say that what we do

isn’t a sport. I work as a team to achieve a common goal, such as a win, but also as a

solo player to better myself daily. I workout, I practice, and I train constantly. The only

thing different between my sport and other sports is I never experienced an off-season.

Dance is non-stop for 12 months, 365 days a year. I’m not sure any other athlete would

want anything else but this besides a dancer. I went back to Tyler and Sam and asked

them if they could handle the practice regimen I had in high school and both of them

agreed they would not be able to continue doing that for more than a short period of

time. In an article in Quartz Magazine Denise Pope from Stanford University states, “If

you do over 20 hours of week of extracurriculars—after-school sports or music—that’s

where we started to see some health issues,”(Quartz). It’s important to note that my

classmates and I, as well as current student athletes, did twice this and we turned out

The moral of the story here is that every athlete is different. Every sport is

different and we should not be comparing them to each other because it just isn’t fair.

Each sport deserves its own recognition and as an athlete you should respect that.

Works Cited

Anderson, Jenny. "This Is How Long Your Kids Should Be Spending on Extracurricular

Activities." Quartz. Quartz, 17 Sept. 2015. Web.

English, Jane. “Sex Equality in Sports.” Philosophy & Public Affairs, vol. 7, no. 3, 1978,

pp. 269–277. JSTOR, JSTOR,

Gantz, Walter, and Lawrence A. Wenner. "Men, Women, and Sports: Audience Experiences

and Effects." HeinOnline. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Spring 1991.


Garecht, Jenna. "Is Dance a Sport or an Art?" The Huffington Post.,

13 Feb. 2013. Web.

Joseph, Andrew. "Cam Newton to Reporter: 'It's Funny to Hear a Female Talk about

Routes'." USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, 08 Oct. 2017. Web.

Kennedy, Eileen, and Laura Hills. Sport, Media and Society. Berg, 2009.

Reed, Gracyn E. “Interview With Tyler Raymond.” 18 Oct. 2017.

Reed, Gracyn E. “Interview with Sam Derks.” 18 Oct. 2017.

Reed, Gracyn E. “Interview with Elda Mae Petrich.” 17 Oct. 2017

S, Prabhat. "Difference Between." Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects.

CopyScape, 28 July 2011. Web. "Estimated Probability of Competing in College Athletics." -

The Official Site of the NCAA. N.p., 15 Mar. 2017. Web