Is it truly a sport?


Sports are often cherished for their hard-hitting, character-building moments when athletes use the most of their skill and talent to win. But not every sport involves head-to-head competition or even exercise. The Spinnaker asked three UNF coaches to participate in a debate sharing their feelings about whether fishing, cheerleading and chess are truly sports.

Mary Tappmeyer
Women’s Head Basketball Coach
“The guys who win tens of thousands of dollars? Yes, fishing is a sport. It’s great they have enough patience to catch a fish. But I would only fish if I was guaranteed to catch a really big fish.“ “It’s more of a pastime. I am amazed at the prizes for some of the bass fishing tournaments. But I think the fishing gene in my family skipped a generation. I find it very boring.” “Yes, there are people who catch really big fish, and there has got to be some type of art to what they do. I would fish; for me it’s a very relaxing time to be surrounded by water.“

Mark Vanalstyne
Men’s and Women’s Head Track and Field Coach
“Yes, it’s a sport because it takes a lot of conditioning, and you have to be crazy to let someone throw you in the air and then catch you. But I wouldn’t cheer because I’d be on the bottom of the pyramid.” “I like when you can measure and see points on a scoreboard. I tend to move away from cheerleading because it’s more judged. No, I wouldn’t cheerlead because I don’t look good in those short skirts.” “Yes, at least at the college level, because cheerleaders in a way are like gymnasts. But I would not. I would much prefer being the one cheered for. I have a lot of respect for them though – being thrown around like they are.”

Linda Hamilton
Women’s Head Soccer Coach
“I would call it the least physical of all the sports but probably the most mental of sports. I have played myself in the past and only enjoyed it when I won. Chess players are very smart individuals.” “No, I don’t think chess is a sport. I like chess, [but] it’s just not a sport; it’s more of a challenge. I think it is wonderful as long as the players don’t take themselves too seriously.” “I wouldn’t consider chess a sport; it’s more an intellectual pastime. If I learned how to play, I would be very willing to learn though. Yet for some reason, I think they are way smarter than me.”

Compiled by Heather Furey.