Sunday, December 3, 2006

What is a great sport?

Yesterday I blogged about what is a sport. But what is a great sport? What makes it great?

1. Popular Appeal: I am a believer that humanity knows intuitively what a great sport is. Soccer is the most popular of sports. Others that have global appeal are athletics, basketball, tennis, golf etc. The worlds knows a good sport.
2. Simplicity: I think a good sport is simple to engage in, easy to pick up. Sports like running, cycling etc are like this. So is soccer and basketball. For me rugby is hampered by its complexity as is Grid Iron! Cricket too is rather too complex for many. A good sport is simple.
3. Few rules: linked to simplicity is that a sport does not have too many rules. This is one of the great advantages of soccer, it is a great sport in its few rules. Again rugby and grid iron fall short on this plain. Netball too is far to static and dominated by the whistle.
4. Involvement: While to play any sport at the top level is tough, being able to play a sport easily makes it great. Running then is a great sport in this regard. Soccer and basketball are easy to play for almost anyone. Rugby again is a little difficult although it does have the advantage of attracting a wider range of body types than other sports.
5. Low cost and accessibility: Some sports are limited because of equipment and other costs. This is the great weakness of golf; even though it is a simple and great sport, it costs a small fortune to play the game in club fees and equipment costs. Soccer and running again win out without any costs. Triathlon is a glorious sport, but is weakened by this. Motor sport is inaccessible to almost all on this basis. Rowing is weakened by this too.
6. Skill challenge: a great sport calls for interesting skills in a variety of areas. Running is a little mundane in this regard. Soccer, rugby, netball, basketball, golf, tennis, triathlon etc are good sports in this regard.

So as I peruse these attributes of a great sport I come to the conclusion that the greatest sport is soccer, even though I am a rugby man. However there are many great sports; play them!

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