According to the Oxford Dictionary, 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.” Yet many sports that fall under this description, such as cheerleading and dancing, are categorized as recreation, competitions or neither. Why is this?
It all depends on who you ask and their own definition of a sport.
In a poll of 115 students from ELHS, 78.2 percent believed basketball (competition) cheer is a sport, while another 44.7 percent believed football cheer (non competitive) is a sport.
Ashleigh Galbo, a freshman junior varsity basketball cheerleader believes it is because of the competitive aspect that basketball cheer has that football cheer lacks.
Jailene Vazquez-Suarez, a sophomore junior varsity football cheerleader believes it is because cheerleading puts supporting other sports before competition.
Dance is really on edge when it comes to classifying it as a sport. Approximately 55.3 percent of students at ELHS believe dance is a sport.
“It depends what kind of dance we are talking about. There is a difference between competition dance, hobby-dancing, and moving your arms around on TikTok,” said senior Ella Stone. “Competitive dance puts in the same amount of work as any other sport, the only difference is dancing works a different muscle on your thigh than football would.”
Nobody at ELHS has the same answer when asked what their definition of a sport was. Athletic director of ELHS, Steve Hargis, described his definition of a sport to be an activity requiring competition.
About 18.4 percent of students at East Lyme High School consider marching band a sport. Mr.Hargis inferred that there wasn’t any push by the students or staff to have marching band labeled as a sport, but it definitely filled all of the requirements.
“If you were to go to a marching band practice, you’d see the same as any other sport. We do push-ups, we run, we workout, just the same as any other sport. The only difference is marching band holds instruments,” said senior Zoe Luich.
Freshman Aiden Kosovo talks about how playing an instrument is already hard, but if people were to see how difficult marching band is while playing an instrument, they’d be amazed.
At ELHS, 18.4 percent of people believe e-sports/gaming is a sport.
“My definition of a sport is an activity that requires endurance. I mean yes, it’s not football, for sure and concussions are slim to none – but the sport itself does require a lot of endurance,” said UConn Gaming Club’s faculty advisor, Ken Thompson. “Chess was an Olympic sport at one time. There are times where less-physical sports are accepted into the world of competitiveness. We should look to that as a guidepost when it comes to e-sports.”
History teacher Aaron Maddux looks at sports another way: his definition of sports isn’t something that requires athletic ability, rather it is something that requires teamwork, which e-sporting/gaming fits.
“Activities like e-sports and gaming really change my opinion on what a sport is. I am really excited to see how far we go with e-sports and gaming into the athletic department,” said Mr. Hargis.