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First, none of this is meant to downplay or make light of anybody's chosen sporting activities. I think anything you can do that is active is a great thing, and please do it well. I am simply taking a semantic look at the words sport versus game.

One day in college I was enrolled in one particular physical education class. Not very many participants mind you but a strenuous activity nonetheless. Performed indoors, one must concentrate to the highest degree in order to win. Almost Zen-like. When passing another athlete in the locker room who was wearing a football uniform I was asked, "What's that you guys do?"

I asked, "First, what do you do?"
"I'm a Defensive Lineman", he said proudly. "So what do you do?"
Matter-of-factly I said, "I practice to kill my opponent with long knives."

I'm not sure why I said what I did except that it simply came out. You see I was a Fencer for several years. But it really started me thinking, what's the difference between what I do and what say a baseball player does? We're both recreating. We both try to win without the intention of actually doing any lasting harm. Both seem to come under the heading of Sports, don't they?

Well, yes and no. Webster primarily -and for purposes of this discussion- defines Sport as "to amuse oneself". Well, under that broad definition masturbation could be considered sport.

Then it should become not so much a redefining as much as a proper alignment of the term's sport versus game. So what is meant by game? Webster says that a game is "activity engaged in for diversion or amusement". Later on it specifies "a physical or mental competition conducted according to rules with the participants in direct opposition to each other."

So what was I doing that was so different from what a basketball player or even a golfer does? Simple: The activities involved in martial arts, original Olympic events, motorsports, etc. all stem from real life and are directly applicable to survival. Such things are originally developed for our survival, yet have been turned into sport out of a need to prove one's prowess. To show how good a warrior one is you have to first prove it to your fellows. Race car drivers are no different but with a few variations…as the development was only in the last century and not ancient times.

Yet the mindset of the individual warrior is no different.

A Game on the other hand generally does not have the same sort of individual mindset, as there is a team effort involved. That said, there is indeed a military component involved with the taking of orders on the battlefield etc, (ie:football) but very little else from games such as basketball can be used in what we politely term "real life". Baseball is a pastime. Basketball is a pastime. Hockey, while being a tough game full of battlefield violence, is simply a game. Fencing is a pastime with a purpose.

One variation on this theme would be chess. Although not an athletic event nothing in Webster's definitions of sport and game constrain chess to be outside the realm of a sport or game. Chess relates to a strategic military campaign and is practice for such. In that it could be considered officer training, much like fencing and marksmanship. Sport? Eh…

So why have I said all this? I guess it would be out of a sort of revulsion ever since I was a kid at the traditional word sports because it always conjured up images of beer-swilling assholes crowded around a TV set watching football. Or of a list of scores and statistics as boring as lint. Where was the excitement? The risk? I was a small kid, couldn't play football, basketball, or whatever. To me, those became games. What survival skill was being practiced? And why when I turned on the TV was the "sports guy" always talking about basketball when he should be talking about this weekend's NHRA Drag Racing results! After all, that's a SPORT!

Are motorsports actually sport? The answer would be yes. Not a game. There are rules and yes there is a format one must follow.

In fact, all motorsports are survival-related activities. Yes, they push the boundaries of safety, but for our sake ultimately as there are significant safety advances due to what is learned. Better performance, better reliability, better safety. Better weapons for the individual warrior.

Sport should advance and hone one's survival skills. Archery, martial arts, etc. all are survival-oriented activities...yet turned into sports. All will increase one's survival potential as well. Making one quicker, more accurate, resourceful, powerful, and reliable. Having fun along the way is a benefit human beings are uniquely equipped to experience. Going faster is a test of one's skill against the other. Survival. In hunting buffalo speed is life. Well, at Daytona speed is fun. Motorsport is a direct offshoot of horse racing. Horse racing being the proving of a better tool once used in battle and for hunting...survival.

They race dogs for sport. The dogs are chasing what they believe to be a rabbit. Hell, that's a sport! Yet the dogs at their primeval level are trying to survive.

Broadly defined survival also means commercial. Making a better baseball does nothing for transportation or the search for and bring down animals for food. Whereas a better car -made better by what is learned on the race track- increases one's survival by getting one to work safer, faster, cleaner, in a better product.

The individual warrior requires better tools and equipment. Sport has ALWAYS given the individual warrior an opportunity to test and better his skills and equipment. That's also what the Olympics are really all about. Today is no different at the basic level if one looks closely. Olympic sports such as Biathlon are a sporting event, completely survival-oriented.

Basketball, while fun and exciting, has little to no correlation to any sort of real-world survival skill, or advance in survival skill or equipment. Same with football, hockey, lacrosse, baseball. All are fun on some level, all are games.

There are modern forms of survival sports such as Timbersport and Ultimate Survival Challenge, which are all blatant survival tests…all sports as well. No games there.

After all, in a game such as baseball what is there to be lost besides…the game?

Trap Shooting=sport

See the pattern? In hand-to-hand combat one's fielding skills won't do you much good. Out in the bush if you scared up a pheasant what good is a basketball going to do you if you're hungry.

Far be it from me to denigrate games and leisure. I like a good game as well as anybody. It's just definitions I have always taken issue with. Nobody ever called motocross a game when I was riding. Nobody ever called Karting a game when I was racing. And nobody would certainly call fencing a game as it is an 800 year-old sport that was practiced for purposes of survival. Knowing this, why would one call basketball a sport when it's just a game?

Chop a tree for sport, make a baseball bat out of it. Heh...