Is Diving a Sport?

Articles often refer to scuba as a "recreational sport". PADI’s magazine is called Sport Diver. People often question whether cheerleading is a sport^1^, but what about scuba diving?

Also, like cheerleading, I believe I know where the confusion stems from. And if I learned anything from former U.S. president Bill Clinton, it's that when answering a question, it's important to define all terms involved. So how do we define "sport"? Straight from my computer’s dictionary:

An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.

Well, it's pretty clear from that, isn't it? Unless you’re having search and rescue competitions, diving is not a sport. Does that mean all the articles and PADI are wrong? Not necessarily. Sport, like many words, has many definitions:

dated: entertainment, fun.

And yet one more

archaic: a source of amusement or entertainment.

So while you can't consider diving a sport by the standard definition, it can be by another, albeit dated, definition. This basically makes it a personal call. Is it ok to call it a sport using the old world terminology, or would you rather stick with modern definitions?

I believe the answer most people take, especially in journalism, is dependent on the context, i.e., if they can’t come up with a synonym that works as well as sport, then they call it a sport. You're free to do the same, but don’t be surprised if sticklers like me call you out on it.

1. It isn't. :)