Ever since July 4, I’ve been having an internal debate about what constitutes as an actual sport. The debate was sparked after my friend asked me whether or not the annual Nathan’s Hotdog Eating Contest, constituted as a real sport. I honestly didn’t know what to say to him. After all, if you choose to take what ESPN claims to be a sport, then you’d believe that poker is also a sport.
After the ESPY’s this summer, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate took to his Twitter account, and questioned the validity of NASCAR and whether or not driver Jimmy Johnson should be a contender for the best male athlete of the year.
Oddly enough, when I read what Tate had tweeted, I was sitting down, waiting for an episode of WWE’s Monday Night Raw to start. Yes, you read that correctly. I’ll admit it, I’m 22 years old and I still enjoy pro-wrestling.
As long time fan I’ve heard it all. Most of my friends, and even my parents, still ask me to this day whether or not I know it’s fake. I just laugh, smile, and tell them, “It’s only half fake.”
It’s true that even before a match even begins it’s predetermined who will win. It’s also true that the shows revolve around a storyline that’s written by a creative team.
What’s not fake is the hard work and dedication that these performers have. Unlike most professional sports, wrestlers do not have the luxury of having an offseason. Wrestlers are on the road 300 plus days a year, which puts them at a greater risk for injury.
Recently on a Chicago radio-station, WWE Superstar Phil Brooks, better known as his performance name CM Punk, weighed in on his thoughts about the naysayers.
“People ask me ‘Oh you’re a pro wrestler?’ and I say yes,” Brooks said. “And then they ask me ‘What’s it feel like when you’re hit with one of those fake chairs?’ Like I’m being hit with a figment of somebody’s imagination. That’s when the shirt comes off and I start showing them scars and stuff like that.”
Earlier this year, former WWE Superstar Adam Copeland, otherwise known as Edge, was forced into an early retirement.
According to a statement released by the WWE, the superstar began suffering from numbness and uncontrollable trembling in his arms and hands.
Copeland has a history of injuries, and in 2003 he suffered a spinal fusion in his vertebrae. After surgery, Copeland was once again cleared to perform. Problems continued to mount for the superstar and after Wrestlemania this year, medical professionals would not clear him for competition. Copeland is now sidelined for the rest of his career. Had he continued to compete and perform, he ran the risk of dying or ending up paralyzed.
Copeland’s story is indeed a minority for the sport, but everyday these performers put their bodies on the line for fans of the sport.
Honestly, I still don’t know what constitutes as a sport, but I’ve gotten to the point that I really don’t care. Everybody will form and have an opinion on a particular sport. And while I may not know whether the hot dog eating contest, or poker actually constitutes as a sport, in my mind wrestling is indeed a sport.