Video Games and the Definition of Sport
Sport (or sporting) is any form of generally competitive physical activity that, through organised or casual participation, aims to use, develop or maintain particular physical skill and/or ability while also providing entertainment for participants, and occasionally, spectators. It can also be a source of competition among members of a group or community. Sport can be physical or mental activities undertaken for fun, competition, or recreation. Although the term'sport' often connotes only outdoor activities, there are many indoor games as well that involve a great deal of coordinated breathing, throwing and running, but do not require the participant to leave his/her home.
The very nature of the word'sport' brings with it the potential for dispute resolution - especially between those playing the sport, and any other individuals who may be interested parties. The definition of sport therefore includes any physical exertion conducted with an intention to gain a reward, competition, or simply to perform with another. There are many ways in which a sport can be defined, and some common themes that run throughout most definitions. These include contact sport, which includes boxing, wrestling, martial arts, gymnastics and cycling; motor sport, which includes motor vehicle and sport bike racing; outdoor sport, which includes beach volleyball, ice skating, football, soccer, horse riding and cricket; indoor sport, which includes ice skating, swimming, bowling and table tennis; and team sport, which includes American football, baseball, basketball, hockey and softball.
In general terms, any physical ability that enables an individual to participate in a sport will qualify as a sport competition. Some sports competitions are non-traditional in nature, being influenced more by tradition and background than by any competitive advantage. However, some sports can have competitive advantages. For example, sailing and windsurfing, both considered to be relaxing and leisure activities, require a high degree of skill and physical strength, often beyond the abilities of many people who would take part in real-time competition. This is why sailing and windsurfing are included within the definition of sport, as both involve an element of skill beyond the participant's natural ability.
The current definition of sport therefore covers any activity that allows individuals to measure their ability against others, and gives no special status or award to particular performances. A sport can include games, competitions, training, work or physical exercise. The participants in the sport may not share a common participation. For example, games such as tennis and cricket involve players who ordinarily engage in different types of physical activity, but are nonetheless regarded as having played the game. The inclusion of games such as these in the definition does not necessarily exclude other forms of physical activity.
For many people, defining sport is difficult because it involves the various definitions and practices of many different sports. Many traditional sports, such as American football and baseball, involve players using their feet to play the game. As with baseball and football, this definition excludes all types of non-physical activity, which would include dancing, gymnastics, sailing and synchronized swimming. However, because these activities have inherent physical ability, some sportswomen regard them as including sport even when they do not.
One other related definition is sport associated with membership in a community. Sport of a social nature has a particular associations, such as fraternal, patriotic, religious, political, athletic and recreational. Some associations, such as the American Red Cross, consider sport related to a particular physical ability, such as sailing, diving or athletics. In this case, the association with sport does not extend to activities that do not have the necessary association to a physical aspect, such as children playing games of tag or musical chairs.
The definition is used to describe the different kinds of activity considered to be a sport, including motorized and non-motorized activities. Activities that fall under the category of physical exertion include things like walking, running, jumping, running, basketball and track and field. Examples of social interaction sports include team sports, rugby, softball, hockey, soccer, motorball, gymnastics and cheerleading. Sports that are considered to be associated with a physical ability include weightlifting, fencing, table tennis, swimming and surfing.
So, if you're asking if video games have any place in the definition of sport, the answer is no. Video games provide an outlet for social interaction that goes beyond participation in a sport and takes into account aspects of sport that include, but are not limited to, physical exertion, social interaction and team affiliation. As the future evolves, the relationships between humans will continue to change and will be influenced by technology that provides opportunities to engage people at a different level of intimacy. The only thing we can do right now is to enjoy the benefits that video games can provide us, without worrying about whether our actions are impacting the world around us. The future may be able to provide more opportunities to enjoy the game, while simultaneously helping to preserve the world we live in.