What Exactly Is Considered Athletic?

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via Daily Prompt: Athletic

When my oldest child was in elementary school, we put her in synchronized swimming.  This is a much more difficult venture than one might suppose.  You might think of yourself as a good swimmer, a good ballerina or gymnast, but, can you do all your tricks while upside down, holding your breath?  Probably not.  One day when my sweet girl was in her PE class, her PE instructor advised her that swimming was not a sport, and thus, Christa was not athletic. Seriously?  I think this has bothered me for over 20 years now.

How many “athletes” in other sports can swim at all?  There is a joke that goes something like this:  If you put a swimmer on the field at football practice, he might come out of it bruised and sore, but he would be able to do what was asked of him, and finish the practice.  If, on the other hand, you took a football player and put him in swim practice, in many cases it is questionable whether or not the football player could even finish one length of the pool, let alone a two hour practice.  So it seems to me that the term sport, or athletic, must have been dreamt up by those who play with balls – footballs, basketballs, soccer balls and tennis balls.

I would like to put forth the radical suggestion that the term “Sportsman” is not accurate either. After all, how sporting is it of mankind to hide in the bushes and shoot lethal bullets at unsuspecting deer or other animals? And how athletic does a person have to be to shoot a gun?  I’ll admit that there is a certain amount of skill to shooting straight, consistently catching fish, or using a cross-bow, but I don’t that that makes a person “athletic” nor do I think it makes them “sporty”.  Therefore we should have another term, don’t you think?  Hunter works for me.  Fisherman or archer work as well, but not sportsman.

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To be considered athletic, one is generally considered physically active and strong; and good at sports and must be able to use physical skills (or capabilities) such as strength, agility or stamina during the sporting activity.  This then, includes swimming (and synchronized swimming as well) as sports that would qualify someone as athletic.

So yes, Christa, you are athletic, and you do participate in a sport.  No matter what the ball boys say.

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They look athletic to me.

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