Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Sports and Games

While I was busy exchanging germs with a couple hundred people in an aluminum can on Saturday, a competition aired on ESPN2. While not unusual that a sports network would broadcast a contest for entertainment, this happened to be an "eSports" tournament, which got all sorts of people in a froth
A tournament for a game that is not even officially released!
Sport (according to Dictionary.com):
  1. an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc.
  2. a particular form of this, especially in the out of doors.
  3. diversion; recreation; pleasant pastime.
Most people fixate on the athletic component of the above definition in order to label a given activity as sport. I confess that I myself do so. On the other hand, I feel that primarily artistic competitions that happen to include an athletic component (e.g., dance, figure skating) should not be included. Neither would I consider competitions not involving athleticism (e.g., chess, videogames) to be sports. However, according to the third definition, I am wrong to think so. "Sport," much like "Obscenity," seems to be difficult to pin down, but we know when we see it.

I love Pentatonix, BTW.
Belghast thinks that we need to drop the "e" from eSports, as if they would be more legitimate without the wannabe prefix. I personally consider it a mistake to define every competition as a sport. We already have the ridiculous sounding Dancesport. What's next? Singsport? Why not? Singing involves plenty of physical exertion, more than the button-mashing of videogames that Belghast alludes to. How about Triviasport? The folks on Jeopardy mash buttons, too; and it's often reaction time/button mashing speed that determines the winner.

Game (also from Dictionary. com):
  1. an amusement or pastime
  2. a competitive activity involving skill, chance, or endurance on the part of two or more persons who play according to a set of rules, usually for their own amusement or for that of spectators.
  3. a single occasion of such an activity, or a definite portion of one
Just as not all sports involve games (by the third definition thereof), not all games need to be called sports. My point is not to mock these various competitive organizations aspiring to be "Sports," but to point out that sports is not necessarily a  desirable thing to be associated with. Too many gamers (and other fringe interests) are concerned about credibility with the "mainstream." As the Godmother of Faff obliquely points out, the sports world is not exactly filled with proper role models. Nor are they likely to accept us "basement dwellers" into their cool kids' club in any case.
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  1. Dictionaries aren't always a great guide to what words can mean because words can mean one thing in one context or one era and something pretty different in another. Apparently sport meant something like "play" or "frolic" back in the 14th century! And we can still use it that way in a sentence like "The puppy chased the cat, but it was in sport" if we want to, but it's not a common usage. When we read the sports pages we don't expect to read about dogs goofing around though.

    1. The difference between denotation and connotation. :) Our understanding of words depends as much on our own experiences and prejudices as on our education.

  2. ESPN was kinda forced too. It was a major esports weekend all around - FIFA international championships, World of Tanks international championship, TERA's NA server annual PvP championships....

    And I love Cowherd, but he cracks me up with his high level of hypocrisy lately - "I cover MMA because everyone is talking about it and its growing. But not esports, which is also growing." "The lesson we should take from Bruce Jenner is not to judge and to be nice to people. But not Floyd Mayweather, he's a creepy illiterate caveman." I think he's seriously jumped the shark in the last six months.

    1. Eh, we're all hypocritical in some way, if inconsistent thinking is the yardstick. But just from the few quotes I saw, Cowherd is a straight up jerk-ass. I've completely disassociated myself in the past from people who expressed similar sentiments about the pastimes of others. I never watched ESPN when I had cable TV, and that they are beginning to air eSports is no inducement to reverse that .