While over at my mother’s house on Saturday, my wife, Baby E, and I watched the Kentucky Derby. Personally, I didn’t want to watch it, but Baby E wanted to see the ‘horsies’. During NBC’s broadcast, the announcer said something that I had heard many times before. It was a quote from somebody who said that the Kentucky Derby was, “the most exciting two minutes in sports”.

As I sat there, I kept thinking to myself that there were many things wrong with that statement. First, and foremost, is that the Kentucky Derby is not exciting… all. I suppose if you had a bunch of money bet on it, it might be somewhat more interesting. Even that doesn’t make it exciting, though. It’s just horses running around a track once.

Most importantly, it can’t be “the most exciting two minutes in sports” because it’s not a sport. Sorry, but horse racing is not a sport.

It’s not alone in the ‘not a sport’ category. There are many things on sports channels that aren’t sports. Auto racing isn’t a sport. Poker isn’t a sport.

The reason they’re not sports? It’s very simple. With horse racing, auto racing, and poker, you don’t have full control over how well you do.

In actual sports, such as baseball, football, or soccer, you do as well as you can physically do. In horse racing, you could be the best jockey on the planet, but if you have a bad horse, you’re not going to win. In auto racing, if you don’t have a good car, it doesn’t matter that you’re the best driver. You could be the best poker player, but if you don’t get the cards, it can make you lose.

Now, I’m not saying that that those things do not take skill to do. They do. Racing and cards require skill to be good at them. However, that doesn’t make them sports.


38 comments on “Sports

  1. 1jaded1 says:

    Hockey! That is a sport.

  2. Concurring like a doctor over here. 😉

  3. djmatticus says:

    Wait, are you saying all those hours spent at the poker table didn’t count as exercise?

  4. El Guapo says:

    There’s an invitational car race – the IROC (International Race of Champions). the drivers are all given identical cars, and are very limited in how they can tweak them, so everyone is pretty much driving the same thing. It’s like an all-star game, a lot more relaxed and fun than the usual Indy type race.
    worth checking out, and I’d say the similarities of the gear make it more of a sport based on your definition (which I disagree with).

  5. BrainRants says:

    Interesting take. I like horses and shit, because Cavalry (I’m a Cav guy), but yeah, I don’t see the point of the Derby.

  6. The Cutter says:

    I enjoy a good horse race. I convinced my daughter it was fun to watch by saying that the horses were like the My Little Ponies. She seemed to get into it.

  7. Is eating a sport? We can choose what we eat and how well we eat. 😉

  8. The saying inour house is, “If you can drink beer while doing it, then it ain’t a sport.” I always crack up when I see Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest on ESPN. And, isn’t the national Spelling Bee on there, too??

    Here’s an experience tidbit for you, though. My daughter used to jump horses over three foot fences for speed. You are so right in that the rider only controls half of that situation–until my daughter explained to me. “Mom, if that horse controls the outcome, then I don’t belong up there in the first place. I can’t be up there if I’m not strong enough, quick-thinking, balanced and brave enough.” For my own, I’ll call her an athlete all day 🙂

  9. Mick Theebs says:

    Yeah, I don’t know if I agree entirely.

    Have you ridden a horse before? It’s really hard and pretty physically demanding. Same thing with auto-racing. Think about how fast these people are driving and how fried their nerves must be knowing that they are one wrong twitch away from dying. I would say that these people are participating in a sport.

    I do agree that poker isn’t a sport, although there is an big element of skill to it. It just isn’t nearly as physically demanding as riding or racing.

    • I know that there is some physicality with auto racing. I personally don’t see how they do what they do. After all, if I drove around in circles for hours, I’d fall asleep and crash.

  10. Entirely agree, add to this the horses are mistreated badly the races become terrible to watch.

  11. I think anything that you have to steer should not be a sport… bobsledding and luging are driving… and ice skating and skiing are just poor choices of footwear for where it is slippery…

  12. benzeknees says:

    The only really good sport is Canadian football!

    • So, what exactly is the difference between Canadian football and…you know, actual football? I know the field is wider. Is that it?

      • benzeknees says:

        Well, in real football (the Canadian kind) the field is both wider & longer. We have only 3 downs to get our 10 yards, so we don’t spend as much time farting around with stupid running plays that only net 1 or 2 yards. We do a lot more passing in Cdn. football & when we do a running play we design them to get 6 or 7 yards.

  13. Sandy Ramsey says:

    I don’t have an opinion on horse racing being or not being a sport, but I do like to watch the Derby. I actually want to go…it’s on my bucket list. Only because I want an excuse to wear a really big, foofy hat 🙂 It’s funny, this post, because just two days ago my daughter was befuddled that bowling was televised and touted as a sport. She says it’ snot. What say you?

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