Sports – do you always have to sweat and demand the maximum from your hardened body? Not at all, as this comparison shows.
“Sport is murder” – this well-known proverb is actually a mistranslation of a (alleged) statement by the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill: According to tradition, the politician, known for his excessive way of life, answered the question of how he reached such an old age with so much stress was able to be: “First of all, nosports” – and thus took a place in the hearts of all those for whom sport is just senseless effort.
But no matter how you feel about sport, there are disciplines that not everyone has on their radar when they think of “sport” such as a marathon. The following list even includes an Olympic, a former Olympic and an almost Olympic discipline – without having to sweat. But there’s a lot of fun.
Sports that are not played in a hall or stadium and that do not represent a great deal of physical strain quickly have a reputation for not being a “real” sport at all. But: Who would deny the sportiness of billiards, for example?
1) Sport – a broad term
But as already indicated, sport is defined very differently.
1.1 What is sport – what is game?
A question that can be discussed for a long time between the regulars’ table and the expert forum. For purists, sport is basically associated with exertion and physical activity, such as athletics – according to their definition, Formula 1 would not be a sport. However, not only the sweaty drivers after a race would see it a little differently.
Another starting point is therefore the following, which was also the basic standard for including a discipline in this list.
1.2 Small evaluation scheme
If the idea of competition is taken as the basis, things look different: Several people measure themselves against each other through skill, ability or luck and in the end a winner is chosen. That is fair and, above all, it defines “sport” much better than the demand for exertion.
1.3 Why exercising is not synonymous with sweating
For this reason, not a drop of sweat has to flow in some – undisputed – sports – honestly, it does not always do that in classic Olympic disciplines: A discus or hammer thrower who only has to perform for a few seconds does not sweat either an archer. But that doesn’t mean that the following sports can’t make their participants sweat too.
2) Darts – sport with cool blondes
It starts with the most popular pub sport: darts
Even if laypeople believe that the middle would provide the highest points in darts, that would in reality be a hit in the three-man ring of the 20 segment with 60 points.
2.1.1 What is it about?
Darts, whose motherland is believed to be England, is a game of skill in which the participants throw darts at a dartboard from a distance of 2.37 meters. This is segmented into several point fields. Each participant has three throws per round and, depending on the discipline, must either be the first to reach a certain number of points or have reached zero from a starting number of points.
2.1.2 Are there championships?
A lot. From small, in-pub competitions to large-scale world championships, everything is included. The contact person in this country is the German Darts Association.
2.2 Little Beginner’s Guide
2.2.1 Where, how, when?
In principle, anyone can start with their own dartboard – including the electronic version. However, it is more fun to set up your own team with a few friends and look around the web for local pub championships.
The dart player’s sports equipment are his arrows. He needs at least three. They exist in a wide variety of weights and looks. Starter sets are available for low double-digit amounts.
3) Table football – stadium action in the village pub
Table football or table football is also an indispensable part of many pubs and youth clubs.
3.1.1 What is it about?
In table football, the participants 1vs1 or 2vs2 face each other at a foosball table on which a football pitch is painted. With their hands they have to move bars mounted across the playing field. “Football players” are permanently attached to these and must be brought into contact with the ball by turning and sliding it sideways. As with the prototype, this must be directed into the gate. A game is won if either side has scored five goals twice.
3.1.2 Are there championships?
As with darts, the competitions in table football range from pub cups to international eliminations with high prize money. In Germany, the German table football association is responsible. The world umbrella organization ITSF unites the leagues of Belgium, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Great Britain and the USA.
3.2 Little Beginner’s Guide
3.2.1 Where, how, when?
Prices for table football start at around 100 euros. In addition, many bars and billiard centers offer the opportunity to play at professional tables.
Kicker can be played practically without your own equipment. Many players, however, rely on golf gloves for better grip.
In principle, poker does not require any equipment. However, if you can’t keep your face in check and thus reveal your opponents’ joy or displeasure with the hand, you should buy sunglasses and wear them during the game.
5) eSports – even clicking the mouse is exhausting
Play a computer game against at least one other opponent. This is eSports.
eSports requires the brain to think ahead similarly to chess – and precise motor skills from the hands. Even a wrong click of the mouse can mean defeat due to the delay.
5.1.1 What is it about?
Participants play a game against each other on networked computers. These can be first-person shooters or strategy games, racing simulations and practically everything that can be implemented as a computer game. The difficult thing about eSports is that it requires extremely high reactions and the ability to think both tactically and strategically at lightning speed.
5.1.2 Are there championships?
Lots of things: While the German Olympic Sports Confederation is still debating whether eSports is a sport at all, it is primarily in Asian countries, such as South Korea and Japan, that it generates prize money in the millions.
5.2 Small beginner’s guide
5.2.1 Where, how, when?
Anyone who is good at a computer game usually also knows whether there are clans, i.e. teams of other players. Joining one and training together is, in most cases, the start of an advanced eSports career through to international matches.
A powerful computer is enough to get you started. However, professionals also swear by special gaming controllers such as particularly precise mice and keyboards.
6) Fishing – hours of relaxation, three years of fishing Latin
Probably the most relaxed sport on this list is fishing – and in 1900 it was Olympic for the first and last time.
6.1.1 What is it about?
Fishing is all about catching fish from water with a rod and attached line with hooks and bait. This is made more complicated by the fact that the sport requires a lot of patience, because not every fish reacts equally well to every bait and also countless factors from time of day to weather can contribute to success.
6.1.2 Are there championships?
When it comes to fishing, too, there are countless graduated tournaments from fishing competitions between friends and fishing club championships to championships on an international level. These are usually still divided into fish and water types. Depending on the design of the tournament, either the one with the most or the largest or heaviest fish within a certain period of time wins.
6.2 Small beginners guide
6.2.1 Where, how, when?
The first step in Germany is to enroll in a fishing school in order to acquire a fishing license, similar to a driving school. The background is that the animals should be caught and killed properly and professionally and without unnecessary suffering. Then the fishing license holders can get started. Many clubs have their own lakes. If you want to fish in public waters, however, you often need a so-called day fishing license, which is available from the responsible water authorities but also from association offices for a small fee.
Fishing is a sport in which you can invest a lot of money – the basis is the rod and reel for the line to be rolled up on it (the strength of which must be selected differently depending on the fish) and also suitable baits, hooks and, last but not least, chairs and other outdoor equipment . Since this can be confusing for beginners, many fishing shops offer starter packages.
7) Sports shooting – punch holes while lying down
Sports shooting is also Olympic in several disciplines. This is supposed to be all about the air rifle.
7.1.1 What is it about?
An air rifle is used to shoot diabolos with a diameter of 4.5 millimeters – depending on the discipline, standing or lying down – at a target ten meters away. This is divided into concentric rings (distance 2.5mm) from the “10” (center, diameter 0.5mm) to the “1”. In order to win, a certain number of shots must be used to achieve the highest possible number of “rings”.
7.1.2 Are there championships?
In addition to the Olympic air rifle shooting, there are championships at practically every level, starting with the championships of the rifle clubs in many German towns.
7.2 Small beginner’s guide
7.2.1 Where, how, when?
In theory, an air rifle shooting career can start in your own garden as long as the projectiles cannot leave the property. However, it is safer and better in terms of training conditions to contact a local shooting club, which usually allows members from 14 years of age.
An air rifle is also considered a weapon in Germany and can only be purchased from the age of 18. However, match-compatible copies easily cost four-digit amounts, so it can be helpful to first join a club and train there with rental weapons. Then the purchases of shooting jackets and gloves are also on the program. The good news: After these expenses, air rifle shooters only have very little expenses except for ammunition (cost approx. 15 euros for 500 pieces).
8) Model sport – aerobatics in a folding chair
Sitting on a summer meadow and animating airplanes and helicopters to do aerobatics – that is model sport of the air variant.
Model pilots look at their device in flight from a distant perspective: That makes it extremely difficult to learn to control it.
8.1.1 What is it about?
Powered miniatures of aircraft are moved through the air by remote control. It is not only the flying itself that makes the attraction, but also the sometimes necessary building and painting of the flying machines, which can bring the sport close to the model making, but does not have to.
8.1.2 Are there championships?
There are, the German Model Flying Association and other associations organize regular championships for the members of their affiliated clubs. Depending on the aircraft, different disciplines have to be completed, for example aerobatics according to a grading scheme similar to that of gymnastics.
8.2 Little beginner’s guide
8.2.1 Where, how, when?
Those who fly models don’t necessarily need a club in Germany, but they have to adhere to various regulations. This is mainly because a model airplane weighing a maximum of five kilograms is also an interference with the scope of the air traffic regulations. If you find a club nearby, you should still contact them for tips and tricks for beginners.
It starts with the purchase of a model airplane. First of all, it should be an inexpensive device, as the control “from below” is very tricky and hard landings are likely for beginners. Most “serious” models are sold without a remote control because it can be used universally. However, this results in additional expenses, so that model pilots can easily spend 500 and more euros. Due to the high fun potential and the possibility of flying everything between miniature helicopters and replicas of gigantic passenger planes, model flying has practically no financial upper limit.
9) Boccia – Grandpa’s excuse against housework
Boccia and boules: A classic image of mature men who relaxed throwing balls and talking about God and the world.
Although boules and boccia also have a sporting character, in their home countries the main focus is on having a chat during the game.
9.1.1 What is it about?
Boccia is the Italian variant of the game of boules, the roots of which can be traced back to pre-Christian times. Each player has a certain number of balls (according to team strength), which he has to throw as close as possible to a target ball in a kind of sandpit, a 26.5 x 4.5 meter track. Depending on the game variant, points must also be achieved in order to win.
9.1.2 Are there championships?
Yes: They range from simple championships with ad-hoc teams to major events organized in this country by the German Petanque Association.
9.2 Small beginners guide
9.2.1 Where, how, when?
Anyone can get started at an appropriate place. However, since the rules are sometimes very different depending on the game variant, beginners’ literature is useful and recommended here too.
Beginners only need one set of balls – prices start at around 20 euros. And even with match balls, the price limit is reached at 300 euros at best, so that boules and boccia are also quite cheap.
10) Crossgolf – car roof instead of grass pitch
Normal golf is a precision sport that requires huge, well-maintained golf courses and an expensive set of clubs. The anarchist variant of cross golf requires much less.
10.1.1 What is it about?
Crossgolf – also urban golf – has the main goal of making the sport available to a wider audience. Where on a golf course a dedicated hole is the target of the strokes, in cross golf it can be practically anything between the trash can and the rabbit hole. Crossgolf has practically no rules: the game is played alternately and the winner is the one who pits his ball with the fewest strokes.
10.1.2 Are there championships?
Although cross golf is a comparatively anarchist sport, there are championships here too, but far less strictly regulated than in other sports.
10.2 Little Beginner’s Guide
10.2.1 Where, how, when?
Cross golf can be played anywhere. The only basis is that no other person’s property should be broken in the process, which is why beginners should first practice the basics of striking in wide, open areas.
When it comes to equipment, too, crossgolf is content with much less than conventional golf: an eight-iron is practically the only club required. Plus a set of so-called lake balls – balls that are fished out of water hazards in golf clubs and are therefore offered much cheaper. All in all, the entire equipment costs less than 50 euros in the ideal case.
11) Gliding – Airfield landing optional
In terms of price, the supreme discipline of this list and in 1940 also – almost – Olympic gliding.
In principle, sail pilots feel their way from updraft zone to updraft zone. That makes this hobby much more unpredictable, but it is also much more primitive flying.
11.1.1 What is it about?
Gliding is about keeping a glider in the air for as long as possible or traveling long distances without a drive, only through thermals and skilfully exploiting the winds after a powered take-off. This not only requires flying skills, but also a deep feeling for weather conditions.
11.1.2 Are there championships?
Indeed, most gliding clubs hold internal championships. There are also national championships organized by the German Aero Club (which are determined locally by individual pilot results) as well as international events for which Germany maintains a national team. The aim of the disciplines is time and distance flights against each other or against the clock.
11.2 Little Beginner’s Guide
11.2.1 Where, how, when?
The basis is the glider license standardized in Europe. It not only certifies that the pilot has practical and theoretical knowledge, but also that he is in a suitable medical condition. It can start at the age of 14 in a corresponding club. He then also owns the gliders, which are usually unaffordable for private individuals, and which can easily cost several hundred thousand euros. A very detailed report from the bottom up is the gliding blog of Spiegel journalist Michail Hengstenberg, who describes his career in gliding there.
The pilot himself hardly needs any special equipment. At most, a flight log and learning materials for the lessons are required. Since the aircraft are very expensive, as I said, there is usually also a membership fee for a corresponding club.
12) Summary and conclusion
Sport doesn’t have to be strenuous – it just has to be fun. The only thing that defines a sport is the idea of competition: In the end there has to be a winner. And if that was determined in a convivial group or with the remote control in hand from a garden chair, then this does not detract from the sporty idea. It just shows that sport is such a diverse hobby that practically anyone can become an athlete – even if they do not strain their running or other muscles.