Jun 17, 2007

Is it a Sport: Billiards?

What do you say we make a list of the greatest billiards players (strikers? cuers?) of all time? I'll go first.

Allison Fisher.

Can't think of anyone else? Good, because I can't either.

Today, we continue our debate over what games/ activities can be considered sports, and which cannot. This time, it's billiards on the hot seat.

Why Billiards might be considered a sport

Like a lot of other non-mainstream activities -- spelling bees, poker, the world series of tiddlywinks -- billiards has earned some pretty widespread exposure in recent years by its placement on ESPN. And for some people, that's all it takes for an activity to qualify as a sport.

Also, billiards requires a great degree of concentration, muscle control, and practice. Then again, so does water color painting.

Why Billiards might not be considered a sport

Billiards is an activity most commonly performed in bars, where people most commonly gather to consume alcohol. Anything that you can perform better while intoxicated is going to have a tough time making the list.

There's also the element of physical fitness. Sure, it takes some control of your arm and shoulder, but I see no clear edge given to participants that are physically fit. For that matter, I see no reason why a 400-pound person couldn't be the greatest billiard-er of all time (provided he can maneuver in the four-foot space between the table and the wall).

Final Ruling: Is not a sport.
Certainty: Eight ball, corner pocket. Can't miss shot.


tyduffy said...


Luke said...

100% correct. It's a great activity but not a sport.

Andrew said...

Andrew's Definition.

Sport: A physical contest of offense AND defense that results in a winning contestant and which requires and a combination of athleticism and strategy to succeed.

By this definition, bowling, golf, track and field and running in straight lines cannot be considered sports. Billiards is still in a gray area, but I'm inclined to include it based on the defense and strategy despite the lack of athleticism involved.