Sport, defined loosely as an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment, seems to have adopted many faux pastimes into a category they’re either not deserving of, or simply do not fit.
Simply put—a sport where the winners are determined by factual evidence, or a measurable achievement that is not subjective, is a true sport. I’d like to even go as far as claiming you ain’t shit unless you’re competing head-to-head with an opponent (or 50), but that would discount any time-trial races or athletic field events which all well and truly classify as a sport by meeting the measurable achievement criteria. Even when they aren’t directly jumping the same bar or hurling a discus at the same time. As an engineer, I don’t make the science, I just follow it.
If you’re a dancer, and have been claiming your entire young adult life that it’s “your sport”, it’s not. Yes, I’m that asshole. Dancing is an activity that can require a lot of physical prowess and exertion for one to be considered Pretty Good™ and typically the best dancers are exceptional athletes, however, not sports people. I have yet to see a dance judged on anything other than a judge’s opinion of technique, move incorporation and style; opinions that can and will differ between judges and will almost never result in an audience knowing the immediate winner based on a direct comparison. I wouldn’t call Mac DeMarco, Andy Warhol or Cardi B a sportsperson; the same way I wouldn’t call LeBron, Valerie Adams or Kieran Read an artist—though I can’t speak for their spare time. All credit to dancers though, tailoring some of the most difficult fundamental physical components of a sport into an athletic art form.
Professional gaming—e-sports—are, in fact, true sports (cringe). There is an undisputed winner at the conclusion of a head to head, real-time game where computer logic decides the winner, definitely more reliable than any referee I’ve ever encountered. Though, I wouldn’t generalise a typical e-sports player as an athlete, with much of their physical prowess consisting of fine wrist motor skills and exceptional reaction times.
Footy is measured by the number of goals a team scores in a given amount of time, basketball is measured in balls through hoops, races are won by one person or team directly beating the rest. I argue that unless dance and other competitive art forms shift how they’re judged such that all viewers know exactly who has won—like the number of jumps, spins or rond de jambes a dancer can do in a specific timeframe—they shouldn’t be classified as sports.