What is a Sport?

Cheer, Dance Team, and Showchoir

Nessa Woosley, Website Details Coordinator

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What is a sport?

Football, baseball, track, etc. are immediately recognized and without a doubt deemed as athletically demanding sports, but there has always been some debate about whether or not some more artistic activities should be called a sports as well.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a sport as “a contest or game in which people do certain physical activities according to a specific set of rules and compete against each other.”

Cheer, dance, and even show choir could all be considered sports, at least by definition.

Skutt Catholic Cheer after double state titles

Skutt Catholic Cheer after double state titles

When deciphering if an activity is a sport, think about it and ask three questions: is it competitive, does it involve physical effort, are there specific rules. If the activity in question does meet the criteria of all three requirements, it is a sport. If not all three, then it could be debatable.

A common argument is that cheer is not a sport. Cheering on the sidelines at football games I would not say is a sport due to the lack of competition. On the other hand, competitive cheer is definitely a sport. Skutt Catholic Cheer won two state titles this year, proving it’s competitive. Have you ever watched a cheer team stunt? It’s insane! Throwing people of similar size to you in the air and catching them definitely requires skill and physical effort. There are also rules in cheerleading. There are rules regarding uniform, time, music, and more.

Skutt Catholic Dance Team

Skutt Catholic Dance Team after double state titles

“Dance is an art, not a sport.” Competitive dance or dance team is totally able to be considered a sport.

Dance without the competition aspect would not be a sport. Even though it is athletically demanding, there isn’t a competition or rules. It is an art but not a sport. Dance team, however, is a different story. Skutt Catholic Dance Team does more than perform at halftime and pep rallies, with two state titles and placing fifth in the nation this year we are made aware that it is a competitive activity. In the state competition, there are four divisions: Jazz, Hip Hop, Pom, High Kick. Each category has rules for what needs to be there in order to be considered that division. For example, in the Pom division the group must use Poms in 80% of the routine.

Vivace after making finals at Elkhorn South competition

Vivace after making finals at Elkhorn South competition

Most people can sing and dance at the same time (it may not be very good but they can do it) but making it look easy and sound pleasant is very exhausting. Show choir groups from all over the Midwest compete against each other in painfully long days. Rather than having one game or match and going home, Show Choir groups could compete twice in one competition and have to stick around anywhere from 8 to 12 hours. The physical effort required for Show Choir is unbelievable. Hours of sweat, blood, and tears go into learning, perfecting, and performing for each show. On bus rides home from every competition most everyone is sleeping out of pure exhaustion from the physically demanding day. Where there is competition, there is probably rules. Time limits are a well known rule of Show Choir. The amount of time allotted depends on the competition but most shows are somewhere near 20 minutes and if you go past the time, points are deducted. Every competition goes off schedule due to groups going past their time limits though. I believe Show Choir is as much of a sport as football, baseball, or any other commonly known athletic activity.

So maybe choir directors don’t get Gatorade dumped on them after winning grand champion, it doesn’t make it any less of a sport.