FanDuel - WFBC

February 21, 2006

Why skating is not a sport: And I'm not sure that I agree with his opinion. I think all sports are competitive or you don't have a game, match or whatever.

posted by lil'red to other at 11:53 AM - 32 comments

i think its a sport b/c u have multi talented and in good physical shape

posted by defrag3x at 04:10 PM on February 21

But figure skating is a competition, not a sport, and it has nothing to do with how difficult or entertaining it is. It is simply a matter of how the winner is determined. It is the same for gymnastics, diving, beauty pageants or anything that chooses a champion solely by human judging. Oh I agree, figure skating is just like Super Bowl. Not a sport, but a competition judged by humans. Also like baseball: was that fan interference or wasn't it? The umpire ruled it wasn't! Or like hockey: was that or wasn't that a penalty call in OT? I mean, the human judging element is there in most sports. That doesn't mean that this is CompetitionFilter. Not all events can be determined by a stopwatch.

posted by mkn at 04:15 PM on February 21

The guy imposes his own definition of what constitutes sport. Pretty narrow-minded, but there you go. But it deserves equal mention that figure skating is nonetheless incredibly athletic, which is more than we can say about professional golf.

posted by the red terror at 04:16 PM on February 21

What about bowling? And fishing? Is that a sport? As far as golf is concerned, I don't know if you should call it a sport or not but I don't consider John Daly an athlete. Have you seen "The Daly Planet" on the golf channel? I love the guy's spirit, but c'mon. I do know that there IS crying in Ice Dancing.

posted by THX-1138 at 04:28 PM on February 21

I totally agree with Wetzel's opinion, and when it comes to figure skating, I feel the need to expound even further on the topic. Rule number one of "Is this a sport?" is that you have to be able to win in an objective fashion. Figure skating is the worst offender of any activity that comes up in this debate. Gymnastics and diving aren't totally objective, either, but they are at least more tolerable and less prone to corruption simply because the judging system is purely technical and thus at least has some sort of pretense of being objective. The reason figure skating cannot be seriously considered a sport boils down to two words: artistic impression. That concept introduces such an egregious level of subjectivity that there is no way to consider any result of a skating competition legitimate. Even worse is that not only is artistic impression a full half of the score, but it is also the tiebreaker. In other words, it is more important to look good doing it than to do it right. (Side note: The Canadian pairs team from four years ago that got jobbed initially -- I forget their names -- would have won outright had technical merit been the tiebreaker.) It's not a sporting contest, it's "Homecoming Queen On Ice". And it makes the judges into massive targets because they end up being the arbiters of what is "artistic", which is something nobody really agrees on, although many of them are arrogant enough to believe they can determine this for us. None of this rant is intended to say that figure skaters are not athletes, because they are. But their activity is very much the definition of what sport is not.

posted by TheQatarian at 04:31 PM on February 21

Can't we just say that sport is what society says it is, and that what falls under the umbrella of 'sport' is always changing? Sure ice-dancing looks like a tween's ultimate birthday party outing, but it was really popular at one point in history, so much so it became sport. Biathlon is easily the twentieth century nordic equivalent of jousting, marrying the disciplines of x-country skiing and marksmenship in blissful union celebrating in awe the difficulty of such an achievment, or just a non-military competition for alpine vets. Bobsledding could be the modern chariot race, minus the blades at knee-height. Well, maybe that last one is a sci-fi sport of the not-so-distant ice-planet future, but you get the idea. forksclovetofu brought spofi the sport/not sport debate, but in doing so I think he highlighted the impossibility of defining what a sport is. Thus the eternal "sport/not a sport" debate and infinite material of sports columnists.

posted by garfield at 04:33 PM on February 21

Let's throw this out there: What about some of the "X-Games" type competitions. If I'm not mistaken skateboarding, BMX, and free-style motorcycle jumping are "judged" events. Are these sports? Do we define sport by our own sense of masculinity?

posted by THX-1138 at 04:41 PM on February 21

Why is "sport" such an incredibly loaded word? By writing that article, Wetzel makes a relatively cogent argument but implies a "competition" doesn't measure up to sport status. And yet he credits the athleticism of skaters. It really seems he's just making a semantic argument for the sake of argument. But then why write the article? Is his point that an athletic pursuit has street cred if its a sport and somehow less cool if its a competition? THX, you're totally right about X-games (and some Olympic "sports") as being competitions as Wetzel defines them. I wonder if he would consider curling a sport, or chess? Scoring in both are objective, just like basketball.

posted by bluesdog at 05:04 PM on February 21

Wether or not something is a sport is as subjective as the judging used to decide all those contests that are not sports. ( I just couldn't resist, snicker snicker) My definition? If it doesn't have a stick, a ball, or both, it is not a sport. Shields up, scotty !

posted by mjkredliner at 05:06 PM on February 21

Most of the "X-Games" events are not sports, either, for much the same reason: the winners are not objectively determined. That doesn't mean they don't require skill or athleticism, and the competitors in those kinds of contests are certainly braver (or crazier) than most of us. And it is certainly entertaining for some people, although I admit I am not among them. But masculinity has nothing to do with it. Personally, though, I rail against figure skating more because, unlike X-Games or anything else, it doesn't even have any pretense of objectivity in determining a winner. X-Games and the like at least have that much going for them.

posted by TheQatarian at 05:08 PM on February 21

What about bowling? And fishing? Is that a sport? As far as golf is concerned, I don't know if you should call it a sport or not but I don't consider John Daly an athlete. Have you seen "The Daly Planet" on the golf channel? I love the guy's spirit, but c'mon. Am I to infer from your comment THX-1138 that just because JD is overweight, smokes and drinks that he is not an athelete? I would like to know how you feel about the offensive lineman in the NFL. I know this thread is about skating; please excuse my side chatter.

posted by panteeze at 05:24 PM on February 21

I don't think that Daly or any other offensive or defensive lineman would make a very good ice dancer. As far as how I feel about them, as athletes, football players yes--golfers no. I have attended pro training camps and some of those 300 pounders are in the best condition of all.

posted by THX-1138 at 05:35 PM on February 21

But please understand that this is a rather rash generalization of both football players and golfers. And side chatter is what makes this topic interesting to me.

posted by THX-1138 at 05:37 PM on February 21

Webster's dictionary: sports - (2) : a particular activity (as an athletic game) so engaged in Skating is an activity and thus is a sport.

posted by chrisly13 at 05:43 PM on February 21

definition of sport: Physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively. I would almost bet that skaters are in better physical shape than nascar drivers. OOPS, my bad. I probably stepped on a few toes there.

posted by dandy491 at 06:02 PM on February 21

O.K. chrisly, I'll buy that. How about competitive eating? How's that for getting off a subject. Is it baseball yet? Seriously though, I had an uncle who told me if you can bet on it, it's a sport.

posted by THX-1138 at 06:02 PM on February 21

Right on THX-1138. Your uncle is a wise man, and his definition (if you can bet on it, it's a sport) is on the money. No dictionary could define it better.

posted by chrisly13 at 06:19 PM on February 21

Yawn. Wake me when some other hack writes this article again four years from now.

posted by fabulon7 at 07:07 PM on February 21

Let's see... you need a stick and a ball for it to be a sport? In NASCAR it take 2 BALLS! I always thought pro wrestling was the only "true" sport.LOL. If you have ever watched Grinkov & Gordeava(sp), even tho that was pairs figure skating, athletes...definitely! And beautiful...poetry in motion

posted by steelergirl at 07:25 PM on February 21

Yawn. Wake me when some other hack writes this article again four years from now. You know it. Even the debate is unbearably boring now, it's been repeated so many times.

posted by Smackfu at 08:20 PM on February 21

If NCAA Division I football is a sport (judged), then skating is a sport

posted by BigVACub at 08:22 PM on February 21

What I don't understand is why anyone cares why someone would classify something as a 'sport' that another may not classify the same way. What makes the term (and it's just a designation) 'sport' have more value? Why would a baseball fan argue that they like a 'sport' and judge that a figure skating fan likes something that - as the article says, has a physical element, a serious degree of difficulty and is competitive - but is not a 'sport'. It's a fucking word! A designation! It has no intrinsic value! The only definition that I see being made clear here is the one under the caption "pointless debate".

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:37 PM on February 21

Skating definitely is truly a sport because it is a real gift to be able to do the movements of a figure skater, tremendous conditioning and endurance to be a speed skater and to me; coordination and skill to be able to roller skate. Years ago I found this out, falling several times while attempting to skate at a rink. I was 19 years old!!! Sport involves anything done athletically!

posted by sports1 at 08:55 PM on February 21

Are horseshoes or badminton a sport? You betcha! What about horseback riding? Don't tell any Kentucky Derby winning Jockey it is not! [smile]

posted by sports1 at 09:08 PM on February 21

What makes the term (and it's just a designation) 'sport' have more value? If you dismiss something as not a sport, it implies that it is not worthy of worship like our other sports.

posted by bperk at 06:56 AM on February 22

If you dismiss something as not a sport, it implies that it is not worthy of worship like our other sports. Which is my point - if you already don't like the activity in question, why do you care if those that do choose to call it a sport? It's not going to make you watch it, or change your opinion about it. And as it has been proven time and time again how liquid this term is, the whole shebang becomes an exercise in exposing a narrow-mindedness, or elitism, or even misogyny and cultural bias - anything but an inclusive and broader view. We define sport by what we don't include in the category. Frankly, it's just plain dumb.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 07:46 AM on February 22

I think Dan Wetzel needs to get a hobby. Does he stay up at night thinking about this crap?

posted by njsk8r20 at 07:59 AM on February 22

But some of you here want to include NASCAR racing as a sport, (like the author) but discount figure skating, on the basis that it is judged. Having balls does not guarantee anything but a sex for the posessor, it does not make the activity athletic. Snooze, yawn, put your foot down, turn left, hit brake, put your foot down, turn left, snooze, yawn..... Figure skating definitely requires athletic ability and skills. Success driving a car does not. Some columnists need to get a reality injection before writing.

posted by mrhockey at 08:42 AM on February 22

Having balls does not guarantee anything but a sex for the posessor Guess you didn't see House this week.

posted by yerfatma at 09:56 AM on February 22

Didn't the dad seem more freaked out he/she was a he/she, then over the fact that he slept with his son/daughter? Just once, of course.

posted by garfield at 10:06 AM on February 22

Wasn't that an ER episode like 5 years ago?

posted by njsk8r20 at 10:45 AM on February 22

Didn't the dad seem more freaked out he/she was a he/she, then over the fact that he slept with his son/daughter? Yes, and I like that.

posted by yerfatma at 11:46 AM on February 22

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