What’s The Difference Between A Game And A Sport?

I was thinking the other day about the definition of games and sports. To me, a sport involves some degree of physical exertion. By that definition, snooker and darts are games and not sports. All well and good. Then I thought “Hang on, shooting and archery are in the Olympics, but they don’t involve any more exertion than darts or snooker.”

According to my Concise OED, sport is defined as:

“an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment”

while a game is:

“a form of competitive activity or sport played according to rules”.

Not all that different then. The key point seems to be that, as I thought, a sport must involve exertion.

It seems to me, then, that if you allow shooting and archery in the Olympics, you could definitely make a strong case to allow darts and snooker too. While that seems a little silly, it would basically guarantee Team GB more medals so I say go for it!


About elentari86

Apparently blogs need to cover a certain niche in order to attract readers. My aim is not to attract readers. I don't deny it would be nice not to just be spouting to myself, but the reason I set this blog up was to give myself somewhere to write down my thoughts. If anyone reads them, that's a bonus. This blog will cover a mix of things - anything that comes to mind that I want to write about. I make no promises about how often I will publish new content.
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3 Responses to What’s The Difference Between A Game And A Sport?

  1. gugelhupf says:

    I like your logic, minus the fact that archery is actually quite strenuous. Some bows can be quite difficult to draw. I never was very good at it so I never progressed past a plastic kids’ bow, though.

    I think darts would be a great inclusion. It seems to be on about the same level as curling (hope I don’t offend any curling enthusiasts, especially considering it reminds me of shuffleboard!).

    What about that great cheese race I hear the Brits like? Something like cheese being rolled down a hill or something? Would you include that? 😉

  2. elentari86 says:

    One of my friends posted this comment on Facebook in response to this blog:

    “I listened to a discussion on radio 4 on this and the speakers reached two conclusions –
    1. the difference is defined by tax law (you pay tax on winnings from sport but not games) and
    2. the olympics defines sports as having referees (which …is why ultimate frisbee isn’t included).
    It’s an interesting distinction. I wionder where the two words originate from and if there once was a greater distinction?”

    I suppose in curling the two sweepers or whatever they’re called have quite a strenuous job.

    The cheese rolling you’re referring to isn’t a general thing we do (though it does sound fun!) It’s just one village in Gloucestershire I think, and they only do it once a year so really I would class it as an event.

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