Browsing All Posts filed under »what is a sport?«

Nerds v. Jocks: twin brothers from different mothers?

August 28, 2010

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OK, it’s not exactly Superman v. Batman, but a pretty fierce and very nerdy debate has erupted following a post over at Overcoming Bias, and continuing on at Marginal Revolution (two of the consistently smartest blogs in the ‘sphere). Why do nerds — for want of a better term, though we may also be talking […]

Embracing the Arbitrary, part 1: why arbitrary rules make sports great.

August 14, 2010

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At the end of the previous post I promised to explore some implications of the late Professor Suits’s extraordinary clarification of the concept of a game. (And then I disappeared into work and travel for more than a week.) The intuition is that a better understanding of what makes a sport a sport will help […]

It’s a Funny Old Game. Of course: games are weird by definition

August 1, 2010

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Legendary English striker Jimmy Greaves found opportunities every week to shake his head, smile, and note what a “funny old game” football (soccer) was. We might call that a catchphrase now. But, at least in his early years as a television pundit in the 1980s, it always seemed to come out as his most genuine, […]

Soccer vs American Sports, part 5: Does taking the hands out of play make a sport inferior?

July 31, 2010

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During the 2002 World Cup, Allen Barra, a great American sports writer (and acclaimed reviewer of books in general) published an infamous anti-soccer rant. The target of the rant was an alleged “swarm of soccer nerds and bullies reminding us how backward and provincial we [good ol’ American sports fans] are for not appreciating soccer […]

When is a Sport not a Sport?

July 28, 2010

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Do we need to answer the question “What is a sport?” in order to address questions about which sports are better than others, or how to improve any given sport or spectator’s experience? I suspect not. But reflecting for a moment on the different fundamental features of various sports does help us to explain why […]

Is Cheerleading a Sport?

July 27, 2010

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More post-World-Cup reflections on soccer soon. But in the meantime, a philosophical debate about sport erupted on a slow summer sports-news day last week. In case you missed it, here’s the AP’s account of the story: Competitive cheerleading is not an official sport that colleges can use to meet gender-equity requirements, a federal judge ruled […]