View Full Version : Is it a Sport?

03-16-2005, 03:35 AM

web page (http://www.calgarysun.com/perl-bin/niveau2.cgi?s=Lifestyles&p=93210.html&a=1&supress= 1)

Join the debate

by Randy Sportak
Calgary Sun

We’re gonna open up a can of worms here but luckily the Sun Sports crew is a fearless bunch. And we love a good debate.


RACK ’EM! … Dave Martin, one of Canada’s top eight-ball players, says billiards can be physically demanding, especially at tournaments, where players can compete for up to 20 hours.

— Jim Wells, Calgary Sun

Our arguments never get as heated as when we discuss what constitutes a sport and debate the differences between athletic endeavours and leisure activities.

All week, Sun Sports is opening the debate to you, our always opinionated readers, and to the athletes whose ‘sports’ we’re putting under the microscope.

The ‘sports’ in question: Bowling, auto racing, figure skating, golf, darts, billiards, curling, horse jumping, slo-pitch, synchro swimming, rodeo and bodybuilding.

We’re publishing a selection of your comments, while the results of our readers’ poll will appear in the Sunday Sun.

So keep reading — and join the debate.

• • • • •

Poll and comments.
Part 1: Is it a sport?
Part 2: Defending curling/slo-pitch.
Part 3: Defending golf/darts.
Part 4: Defending billiards.

• • • • •


To Dave Martin, any debate over pool’s legitimacy as a sport is cut and dried.

“I’ve never really thought too much about how it can be anything other than a sport,” said Martin, one of Canada’s top eight-ball players.

“It’s a competition, you’re pitted against another person or another team.

“I’ve played lots of sports in my life and it’s a physical act and, just like golf, there’s hand-eye co-ordination.”

Martin, who’s won a few Canadian titles and was the runner-up in the men’s masters event at the 2001 Billiard Congress of America National Eight-Ball Championships, knows the stereotype of pool players.

That would be the beer-swilling, cigarette-smoking oaf or barfly.

However, the owner of Jr.’s Billiards Bar & Grill says the fitness needed to be a top-flight pool player dispels that perception.

“Try playing for 18 to 20 hours. I’ve played in tournaments when you play all weekend,” he said.

“The best championship I ever won was a team championship in 1993 in Las Vegas.

“Our team — we were called the Dream Team — lost in the first round in the final day, so that day we ended up playing something like eight matches back to back to back to back.

“At the end of that, I sunk the last shot and absolutely felt like passing out right there. It was absolutely exhausting.

“It’s mental, it’s physical. It’s not just playing for a half-hour, an hour or two hours and you’re done. In a tournament, you have to play match after match after match. You have to be in good shape to do that.”

Plus, he said, pool isn’t just whacking a ball because there’s a serious amount of precision and strategy involved.

“There are a lot of different shots required, a lot of thought process,” he said.

“You’ve got to break the balls originally — the players with the best break have a huge advantage.

“Then you have to make a masse shot or put some English on it or make a jump shot.

“I’d like to think, when it comes to eight-ball, I’m one of the better strategists. That’s one of my best abilities as a player, think how to run the table or if it’s a good time to play a safety.”

• • • • •



Synchro swimming a sport. The sport is judged but the sport is about the athletes.

Flexibility, endurance, grace and strength are required to complete a routine and athletes don’t have the benefit of air.

— Katelyn Guy


I lose 5 or 6 lb. a weekend competing at Race City.

Physical condition is critical for the physical and mental demands of controlling a race car at high speed, in close quarters on a track, shifting every 10 seconds for two hours.

G-forces leave me bruised at the end of the weekend.

— G. Brooke Carter


TO TY PILSON, Darren Friesen and Scott Fisher, who say curling is not a sport: I will put a brush in your hand and see how you feel after you have swept as hard as you can all the way up Deerfoot Trail to the airport.

Then I dare you to tell any front end that curling isn’t physical.

— Bob MacLachlan

• • • • •



YES. “Totally a sport. I love to bowl and it’s hard. It’s not so much a physical sport but it is technical.”

YES. Everyone drives a car. It’s an extreme sport.”

YES. “The training and everything takes a long time to progress to the highest level.”

YES. “But it’s a fun pastime for most people.”

NO. “My parents are going to kill me. They play Saturday nights with their friends.”

NO. “It’s more technical than physical. It’s not quite a sport because you can be fat and play it.”

YES. “Originally, I didn’t think it was a sport but after watching it, it’s a sport.”

YES. “It is pretty crazy what the riders do and they have to have control of the horse.”

NO. “I don’t even think baseball is much of a sport based on all the scandals right now.”

YES. “It’s very hard to do. It’s extreme endurance and you need a lot of muscle to do what they do.”

YES. ““It is very physical and you get bashed around a lot.”

NO. “It’s more of a show than a sport. But it is very cool to see what the body is capable of.”


Have Your Say - the calgarysun.com Forums

Rich R.
03-16-2005, 03:44 AM
Nick, since shooting rifles, shotguns and B-B guns are all Olympic sports, pool certainly should be considered a sport, as far as I'm concerned.

Pool requires skill, concentration, eye to hand coordination and a certain amount of endurance, in a tournament situation. It sounds like a sport to me. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

03-17-2005, 04:00 PM
Personally I've always considered billiards as an sport activity. IOC recognized billiard sports a couple of years ago under the umbrella of WCBS.(http://www.olympic.org/uk/organisation/if/fi_uk.asp?id_federation=39).
I remember reading something that in the following olympics it will be leveled as an olympic sport (please confirm 'cause I don't remember when or where it was).
Anyway, to me it'll always be a sport. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

03-17-2005, 04:17 PM
I as a pool player and understanding how rigorous tournament play is both mentally and physically consider it a sport! but according to the recent poll resusts 77% of the people responding don't agree! /ccboard/images/graemlins/frown.gif

<font color="red">Here are the results for:



</font color>

03-17-2005, 06:58 PM
Here is MHO... The football game is on Saturday. The baseball game is on Sunday. You can find the basketball game on Saturday night. The golf game is on Sunday afternoon. The poker game is on late at night. Fishing is not a game or a sport, unless you are in a contest. Hunting is hunting, not a game or sport, unless you are hunting competitively.

Look at your newspaper's sport section or a sport's magazine, there probably won't be any Bowling, Pool or Poker articles. The goofballs are too busy writing about activities where you wear a jock strap.

When the money gets back into the picture of Billiards, more attention will be paid to our chosen activity.

"Playing Pool" may be what a 4 speed ball bangers do, on league night, but Earl Strickland doesn't "play" Pool. He's as serious as death, anytime he's got Cue in his hand.

Those folks that would belittle this highly mental &amp; somewhat physical activity called Billiards, can say and or think as they may... it's a free country.

However, anyone that loves the game &amp; plays the game for accomplishment or money should stand firmly against the proponents that talk down about us or our chosen activity.

03-18-2005, 06:57 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote hhilario:</font><hr>...
I remember reading something that in the following olympics it will be leveled as an olympic sport (please confirm 'cause I don't remember when or where it was).
.. <hr /></blockquote>

No, that is not the case. The BCA tried to get it in as a demonstration sport but the IOC put a moratorium on new sports a couple of years ago.

03-20-2005, 09:29 AM
Your analysis is excellent, but legally pool is not a sport. If it were, Steve Mizerak would never have been allowed to do his MIller Lite commercials; FTC regulations expressly forbid any active athlete from endorsing any form of alcoholic product. Lawyers (specializing in advertising law) HAD to be involved in making the decision that Mizerak was no athlete, and pool was no sport. (This isn't my opinion, just fact.) GF

03-20-2005, 10:01 AM
So what about the Olympics commitee declaring pool a sport? Contradicting Facts /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif Or dueling Declarations! /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

03-20-2005, 11:52 AM

As in the writer?


03-20-2005, 12:32 PM
I remember in the early 80's the Miller Lite tournaments had to be canceled in all but I believe 19 states because it was not legal to have an alcohol beverage company sponsoring a sporting event. Am I remembering this right? I don't know about the Mizerak thing, he was active, the commercial was like 1983 he was still plenty active winning I think that really big tournament at Red's the same year. pool isn't an organized sport anyway just a tournament here and there. It barely qualifies as anything, Lumberjacking is more organized.

03-21-2005, 06:47 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote jjinfla:</font><hr> GF?

As in the writer?

Jake <hr /></blockquote>

Yes it's that GF. He still lurks.

03-21-2005, 06:48 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr> I remember in the early 80's the Miller Lite tournaments had to be canceled in all but I believe 19 states because it was not legal to have an alcohol beverage company sponsoring a sporting event. <hr /></blockquote>

I don't know about that. Baseball has been sponsored by beer companies since Hector was a pup.