Am I an Athlete? - An Opinion

Travis Willmann, Sports Section Editor

 Courtesy of Pixabay.com

Courtesy of Pixabay.com

The views and opinions expressed on in this article are solely those of the original author. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of The Vision NGU or North Greenville University.

The first Olympic games were held in the eighth century BC by the Greeks. For centuries men would compete for days in different events such as wrestling, boxing, chariot racing, the discus and javelin throws. The different city-states would compete against one another simply for the right to represent their city-states with the coveted olive-wreath, according to Bleacher Report. 

It is no secret that the men that participated in these events earned the right to be called some of the greatest athletes of all time. Since the return of the Olympics starting in 1896, thousands more have earned the right to be called great athletes. But this is not 1896 and the line dividing someone who is not an athlete and someone who is has been blurred. 

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, an athlete is "a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina." This definition can be used to judge any type of physical activity to see whether or not the person involved in that activity is an athlete  

Once such activity is that of Marching Band. Marching Band requires a person to be trained and skilled in the instrument that he or she plays but is not classified as a sport, exercise or game. While the person might have to march while playing an instrument, it does not fall into the categories listed above. Yes, Marching Band fills the requirements for all the other categories, but since Marching Band is not a sport, therefore athletes are not the right word to call people who participate in Marching Band. 

Another activity that has come under scrutiny for not being a sport is fishing. Since fishing takes skill, stamina, agility and physical strength to perform, fishing can and is considered a sport. Therefore, the people that do fish can be considered athletes. The amount of skill to know where and how-to fish takes years, if not decades to master. Also, some fish can weigh in at well over 150 pounds. It takes stamina, skill and strength to catch that big of a fish. Therefore, by definition, fishing is a sport and fishermen are athletes. 

For centuries athletes have been those who participate in sports or games that require physical strength, agility, or stamina, such as those who participated in the first Olympics. Now it just seems it is okay to call anyone an athlete without caring for the definition. It is a disgrace to all those who are athletes and put in the time and work to be called an athlete. Athletes need to be shown the respect that they deserve and respected for the game or sport they do play.