Blackwell’s Commentary: Sport or Not a Sport

About 15 years ago, while working for the Brownwood Bulletin newspaper, I wrote a hard-hitting column that attempted to clearly define what is – and absolutely is not – a legitimate sport. In true Olympic spirit, and in wake of eight badminton “athletes” who have been suspended for throwing games in London in order to get a better draw, I’ve decided to reprise that column, making necessary tweaks, rewrites, additions and edits.


You are not allowed to disagree with this list. This is the final, ultimate answer to the question, “Is (blank) a sport?”

Any sport that includes an object called a “shuttlecock” is not a sport, though it might be fun. Same with “coxswain.”

Any sport that requires an animal of any kind is not a sport. Sorry, Secretariat. Dogs, horses, bulls, calves, fish, deer, moose, bear…not a sport.

Anything that involves a “sled” of any kind – dog, snow or bob – is not a sport.

Any sport that involves water – or any derivative of water – is not a sport. No oceans, no lakes, no snow, no ice. No way.

Do you enjoy formula one racing? NASCAR? Sorry, but anything that involves an engine is not a sport. Besides, a “crew chief” is the head umpire, not some dude who tightens your lugnuts.

Anything that requires gasoline in order to participate…not a sport.

Anything that involves the intentional breaking of a law – for instance, the 55 mph speed limit – cannot possibly be a sport. If you put 25 cars on a track and encourage them to drive 200 mph, what you’re doing is criminal, and you are not participating in an actual sporting event.

If you have to sign a waiver, what you’re getting ready to do is not a sport. Though it might be fun, and might very well involve a coxswain.

Anything Richard Petty dominates cannot possibly be a sport.

Any activity in which music selection is important is not a sport.

Anything involving artistic drawing in the air with a ribbon is not a sport. Please.

Anything in which your performance is enhanced by shaving…not a sport. I think the dude who shaves all the swimmers before they race is called a “coxswain” isn’t he?

Anything that includes a participant nicknamed “The Walrus” is not a sport. “Tiger” or “Shark” or “Golden Bear”…yes. But “Walrus”? Um, no.

While we’re on the subject, anything you can do better while drinking a six-pack is not a sport, though I am a big fan of John Daly.

If what you are doing is synchronized, then what you are doing is not a sport. But it might be fun and may very well include a coxswain.

If what you are doing includes the word “senior,” then it’s not a sport. Having said that, I’d love to join you for pudding at Luby’s.

If you are shooting a firearm at a hockey puck flying through the air, then you are not participating in a sport.

If your activity includes a broom…not a sport. For all you curling fans out there, sorry.

Anything that Shawn White does or is even an indirect participant in is absolutely not a sport. Skateboarding should be outlawed for anyone older than 10. Shawn White should be outlawed, period.

Snow is a derivative of water, therefore, anything that includes snow is not a sport.

If somebody named Jean-Claude can do it, it’s not a sport.

If the activity includes a wheel – and not a wheel route – then it’s not a sport.

If there is a judge involved, it’s not a sport. I don’t want a judge; I want points.

If you can do it in a bar, it’s not a sport, although you can find both winners and losers at a bar. On an unrelated note, I ran into a coxswain at a bar just last week.

If Pete Weber does it, it’s most certainly not a sport, though it can be highly entertaining. Pete Weber might very well be a coxswain.

Anything dominated by Romanians is not a sport.

Anything that is enhanced by stink bait is not a sport.

Anything that involves a lure is not a sport.

If somebody has to “spot” you, then what you’re doing is not a sport.

Anything with “lon” at the end of the word is not a sport. It’s probably hard to do, but it’s not a sport.

If something involves climbing, it’s not a sport.

If you change benches in the middle of the event, then what you are doing is not a sport. Now, if volleyball changes that silly rule, then yes, I will consider that activity an actual sport. Until then, sorry, for the love of God you don’t change where you sit on the bench in the middle of the game. This irritates me very much.

If part of your scoring system includes the word “love” then what you are doing is not a sport. Though it might be fun and may very well involve a coxswain.

If you have to be quiet during “key moments” of an event, then it’s not a sport. In order to become a legitimate sport, golf must give a lifetime suspension to anyone nicknamed Walrus, do away with the Senior Tour, prove that the activity can be done more effectively without beer and allow taunting in Tiger’s backswing. Now we’re talking.

After reading this, please do not show up at my door with a gun, a greyhound, a bag of ice and a coxswain.

That is all.