Sport, Stunt, Game, or Pastime?

My wife read an article recently that suggested, probably semi-tongue-in-cheek, that figure skating is not a sport because it is subjectively judged, and the participants wear costumes and perform to music. While I’m not a big fan of subjective judging, I think this unfairly short-changes these athletes. So, out of a great breakfast conversation with some friends, this chart was born (made with gliffy):


  • While it seems to me that there are some fat professional baseball players, none of those guys can spend all their time on the couch, and most are in great shape, so baseball is a sport.
  • Perhaps golf was a game before Tiger came along and raised the bar, and now it’s a sport?
  • Not sure about NASCAR or bowling. I know there are physical demands, but can you compete on the elite level without athletic training? If so, game. If not, sport. I’m not making any judgments, I just have no idea personally.

Updated, Alternate: My breakfastmates had proposed a risk clause, which I had taken out for simplicity’s sake, so if you prefer, this version puts it back in. Also, thanks to Alec for the Hemingway clause that also made it in:

Updated, Personal Version: Personally, I like the Hemingway clause but not the risk clause, so this is the version I use: