I’m not very good at snooker, I find it hard to even place the cue stick right, let alone hit the ball in the direction I want to create the desired effect of, y’know, hitting one ball with another. From what I recall of playing darts, I was fairly good, managing to hit the board without really understanding the points scoring system but generally having fun.
Snooker and darts are what people would refer to as entertainment, not sports.
…dart boards in a few less…
We see snooker/pool tables in most pubs and dart boards in a few less, and it makes sense to link the environment (a social one) with the attractions on offer. You wouldn’t expect a pub to have a football or rugby pitch outside just in case frequenters of the bar wanted to go toe-to-toe in a contact sport.
But is it unfair to think of snooker and darts in such a way? In light of my own struggles playing them, there is a huge degree of skill involved in playing them.
…a sense of pressure…
If I were to ask you what makes up a sport the basic elements would probably be a degree of skill, a sense of pressure and the nature of the occasion. There’s an importance we attached to a great many sporting events and the level of performance expected on these occasions are high. When we think of sports we think of extremely athletic people, sportsmen and women who are able to jump several metres, run 100 metres in a certain amount of time or perform a dazzling piece of skill that would make most of us trip over our feet.
Try to think of the physicality required to perform darts or snooker, in the former a person is standing up and throwing a dart and in the latter a person is bending over a table (occasionally stretching); it lacks the kind of physicality that’s required for sport.
…they lack the physical exertion…
So why should they be considered as sports? While they lack the physical exertion that is an important facet of other sports, there’s a trade off for a more mental/intelligent aspect. It takes an extreme amount of concentration to play these games over and over again; it shouldn’t be expected that anyone can throw a dart, or pot a ball, by just casually performing the necessary action.
Repetition is a key part of any sport, being able to perform the consistent movement under pressure in order to bring about the desired result is indicative of a sport to me.
If you agree or disagree, why not write in the comments below.