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Is climbing a sport or is it something more?

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 mlmatt 17 Jun 2011
Well the question is really in the post title, but for those who missed it here it is again:

Is climbing a "sport" or is it something more?

Personally whenever someone referes to climbing as a sport I find myself falling back on the same statement which goes something like "it's not a sport, it's a way of life". So for me climbing is much more than a sport. It is a pasttime, a hobby an all encroaching white elephant that seems to infect even the smallest aspects of my life.

Do other "sports" do this? What is your opinion?

[This is not a troll, it is just a question that'll hopefully get people explaining what climbing means to them]
 _MJC_ 17 Jun 2011
In reply to mlmatt: Well defining it as a sport is just the way in which it is performed, but it dosn't suggest how much it means to you or not. Like it isn't 'only' a sport if you describe it as a sport.
 Doug 17 Jun 2011
In reply to mlmatt: "There are only three sports - bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games" is the often repeated quote from (allegedly) Hemingway.

But if 'sport' is taken to be football, tennis etc then mountaineering is something in a different class (at least for me)
 _MJC_ 17 Jun 2011
In reply to Doug: I don't think anyone would think of mountaineering as a sport. Again, it's all about the way it's performed and mountaneering isn't usually performed in that way compared to say; hard sport climbing or competition climbing.
 Cypher 17 Jun 2011
In reply to mlmatt: Climbing to me is an escape. Especially outdoors.

I can climb out of the hustle bustle of my life to a point in the world where I can be totally alone (in most cases.) Or around like minded people who do not judge me on my work performance or my financial situation.

Climbing is a way for me to take a step back, evaluate who I am and where I'm going, and it always gives me a goal. Which is nice when you feel like you have very little control over the rest of your life. Having something to aim for helps keep me sane.
 Monk 17 Jun 2011
In reply to mlmatt:

> Personally whenever someone referes to climbing as a sport I find myself falling back on the same statement which goes something like "it's not a sport, it's a way of life". So for me climbing is much more than a sport. It is a pasttime, a hobby an all encroaching white elephant that seems to infect even the smallest aspects of my life.
>
> Do other "sports" do this? What is your opinion?
>

I don't think that the all-encompassing passion is unique to climbing - people dedicate their lives to all sorts of other sports. You don't get to a decent level without training at least 3 times a week, travelling to fixtures at the weekend, midweek evening fixtures, reading the magazines (have a look in WHSmiths in the sport section!), reading the biographies, researching techniques.

The 'escape' reasoning is often trotted out too, but do you really think that the people you see on tennis courts, football pitches and on horseback are actively thinking about their problems at home or work? Engrossing yourself in any activity is an escape.

I think that we like to think that we are different, but we actually have a vast amount in common with many other groups of people. In all pastimes you get dabblers, weekend enthusiasts and obsessives.
 bustermartin 17 Jun 2011
In reply to mlmatt: nah its just fun..
"Theres nothing special about climbing"
 muppetfilter 17 Jun 2011
In reply to mlmatt: To some its merely a concept they talk about and dont do, to others its an unhealthy obsession destroying relationships and health. And to most of us its in the middle of the two somewhere...
Tim Chappell 17 Jun 2011
This is just an argument about the word "sport", isn't it? Don't really know whether I care what people call it.
 Null 17 Jun 2011
In reply to mlmatt:

Like all things mountaineering is exactly what you make of it. So often we are confused about what comes from inside ourselves and what exists outside of us. If you think about it, mountaineering doesn't actually "exist", and so it has no implicit character "in itself".

Any difference between it and any other "sport" is not so much the nature of the activity as the sort of people it attracts.
So you need to reformulate your question: are mountaineers different from other "sports" activists ?
("sport" taken to be any non productive exercise based activity).
And I think the answer would obviously be "Yes", just as boxers tend to be different from golfers.
 GDes 17 Jun 2011
In reply to Cypher:
> (In reply to mlmatt) Climbing to me is an escape. Especially outdoors.
>
> I can climb out of the hustle bustle of my life to a point in the world where I can be totally alone (in most cases.) Or around like minded people who do not judge me on my work performance or my financial situation.
>
> Climbing is a way for me to take a step back, evaluate who I am and where I'm going, and it always gives me a goal. Which is nice when you feel like you have very little control over the rest of your life. Having something to aim for helps keep me sane.

I'm sure plenty of amateur footballers, bowlers, and snooker players say similar things.
In reply to mlmatt: It's a way of life.
 Cypher 17 Jun 2011
In reply to GDes:
> (In reply to Cypher)
> [...]
>
> I'm sure plenty of amateur footballers, bowlers, and snooker players say similar things.
They probably do, and if they do, then good for them, but I'm not them, and they aren't me.
 gd303uk 17 Jun 2011
In reply to mlmatt: climbing can be a sport to some, ie people who enter comps etc., but for me i don't see it as a sport, I don't compete against anybody else; sure there might be some friendly rivalry but never am i trying to win anything over anybody, i am if anything competing with against myself, my mind and body the route etc,, I suppose i train like I would if in a sport but it is like saying is Yoga or sex ( i train a lot for this a sport, it is something I do, I find it difficult to live without, indeed i can go without sex but not without climbing, my priorities could be messed up but how we see the thing we do is subjective.
on the last question I think any obsessed athlete with a mild ocd disorder would say the same, that their chosen activity sport encroaches in every aspect of their lives. it must become a lifestyle for them in some way, defining who they are etc.
 Cake 17 Jun 2011
In reply to gd303uk:
> (In reply to mlmatt) climbing can be a sport to some, ie people who enter comps etc.,

I don't think I am arguing against you when I say that I think there are a lot of golfers and runners who compete against themselves mainly and find it totally absorbing. They might even call it a way of life too. There are a lot more of them too. We're nothing special for pursuing this particular hobby. We've just picked the best one!
 winhill 17 Jun 2011
In reply to mlmatt:

sport climbing must be because it has sport in the title.
trad is a way of life, a bit like folk music.
bouldering is a hobby because it's solo and you don't need much gear.

I'm not sure if Golf is a true sport, but if it is then you have to let Darts in.
gritstoneclimber 17 Jun 2011
In reply to mlmatt:

No to me it isn't a sport it is a way of life.
 A-dog 17 Jun 2011
In reply to mlmatt: Its way more than just a sport. its already cost me a marriage and the current gf is getting pretty fed up. I`ve only been climbing for 2.5 years so i wonder what else im going to sacrifice
 teflonpete 17 Jun 2011
In reply to mlmatt:

Its a good excuse to eat cake.
 Duncan Beard 17 Jun 2011
In reply to mlmatt: I find this very interesting. Generally I have no interest in sports and was never any good at ball games or athletics, mainly because I am crap at running. I can swim well though. I would never sport climb or boulder in preference to trad so that may indicate where my interest lies. I sometimes describe climbing as THE hobby (as opposed to 'a' hobby) as it is so intense. I think it appeals to people who like to focus on a single tough personal challenge and I have found through experience that is what I am best at, at home or at work.
 laurentb 17 Jun 2011
In reply to mlmatt: Meditation mate.

Nothing like escaping your problems on some belay somewhere with good mates and a stunning view.

Then climbing some route which looked easy from below but you realise the lack of gear and how vertical it is when your nearly at the top....

Puts life in perspective.
In reply to mlmatt:

No it's not a sport; it's an athletic discipline and we are athletes. Apparently.
 Aigen 17 Jun 2011
In reply to mlmatt: Ernest Hemingway There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games
escudoturbo 17 Jun 2011
In reply to mlmatt: If you can smoke a pipe while doing it; it is not a sport.
 butteredfrog 17 Jun 2011
In reply to mlmatt: Look at it as more like heroin addiction.
 Duncan Beard 17 Jun 2011
In reply to mlmatt: I never really think of it as escaping my problems though as many have observed you are really in the moment when climbing. I started late and regret all the weekends I wasted fishing, lying under old cars and drinking!
 Sean Kelly 17 Jun 2011
In reply to Aigen:
> (In reply to mlmatt) Ernest Hemingway There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games
So where does 'Darts' fit in?

 elsewhere 17 Jun 2011
In reply to mlmatt:
After climbing you're unlikely to say "I won" or "the other team beat us" so most of the time climbing is a hobby/obsession.
In reply to mlmatt:

My wife says it is an addiction
 adstapleton 18 Jun 2011
In reply to mlmatt: It's just really good fun is what it is.

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