As a trivia enthusiast and a life long athlete, it had me wondering, is Trivia a sport? Since both activities rely on people to compete in a game to achieve a desirable result for the competitors, I was curious to know if trivia would be considered just a form of entertainment, or if it could truly be deemed a sport.
While the premise of trivia is similar to a sport, it is not in fact a sport since it lacks the physical component of the competition. According to Oxford Languages, a sport is an “activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” Trivia is unique to sports in that, while it is still a competitive game, it is based on facts about a variety of subjects where we exert ourselves mentally, rather than physically. In order for trivia to be considered a sport, it would require you to use your body in a strenuous way to answer questions within a competitive environment.
This is what truly differentiates sports from Trivia. Trivia is mostly a mental competition and requires no physical exertion. Sports, on the other hand, are focused on the physical aspect of the contest to achieve the favorable outcome of a competition. However, if we think outside the box a bit, there could be a scenario where trivia could be considered a sport, just with some modification and an open mind.
When Could Trivia Be Considered a Sport?
Considering the premise of what makes a sport in fact a sport, it could theoretically be applied to trivia, with very specific caveats. Trivia could be considered a sport if it were directly part of the ruleset of a physical game of skill. As an example, a trivia marathon, while still a mental game, would take a toll on you, as this would now include a test of physical endurance through focus, lack of rest, and the stress it would put on your body. If the main objective included answering as many questions as possible in one sitting, for as long as you can, or if part of the competition included completing physical activities in conjunction with answering questions, then we would be able to consider this activity a sport by definition.
However, the connection between sports and trivia here is that even though sports and trivia differ due to the physical aspect, they are both considered a game. This connection between the two shares an interesting cross-section of those individuals that enjoy sports and people that love to play trivia, since the gaming and competition aspect is shared between both. That is to say, most people that love sports, also enjoy trivia for a variety of commonalities and reasons shared between each pastime.
Trivia and Sports are Both Games
According to Merriam-Webster, a game is “a physical or mental competition conducted according to rules with the participants in direct opposition to each other.” So while trivia is not really considered a sport and sports are not really considered trivia, they are both considered a game because based on the above meaning of a game, sports and trivia both fit into the definition since sports is a physical competition and trivia is a mental one.
Sports and trivia share a number of traits that attract people. Games tend to bring out the competitive spirit that is innate to human nature. Most people enjoy scenarios where there is a winner that is chosen based on skill and ability. Because of this, I have found that most people that enjoy sports are also very much into trivia; the spirit of competition and winning is involved in both activities so the desire to compete exists in both types of games.
As with many sports lovers, the tendency to compete can be even higher than most. Because of that, these individuals tend to enthusiastically participate in trivia with an almost innate desire to do so. The typical characteristics of most sports lovers drive them to become very engrossed in all facets of the sports they appreciate, watch, and/ or participate in.
Following sports can drive a very passionate level of involvement. In fact, the word “fan” comes from the word “fanatic.” The teams, players, games, statistics, records, and so forth, will likely become a meaningful part of a fan’s life and memory. This inadvertently draws in most sports lovers since the retainment, recollection, and application ability connect the characteristics of the individual between the two games. People that enjoy sports tend to also enjoy trivia because it can be a natural outlet, driven by the characteristics that relate to their behavioral tendencies and forms of entertainment they enjoy. In other words, sports lovers tend to be competitive people, so trivia is a great way to compete by using the brain rather than brawn.
In terms of all the forms of trivia that exist, most sports lovers tend to appreciate sports trivia the most. The interest in sporting competition makes the topic of sports trivia very attractive because it applies an interest that is directly related to a form of entertainment that is exciting and fun. This attracts individuals who like to compete and brings out the spirit of competition that is innate to most human beings while providing an outlet to perform and win at something.
Sports Trivia and the Competitive Nature of People
As with most things, the things that we tend to appreciate may lead us into new forms of entertainment through their direct connection. In this regard, people who love sports will likely love to play sports trivia. Why? Well because they are both competitive games, there can be winners in both scenarios, and the topic is interesting to the participant.
Since trivia is not a physical game, it is a lot more inclusive to those individuals that may not have or may no longer have, the physical ability to perform; most sports tend to favor the younger and more athletic person. This provides a great outlet for appreciators of sports because it allows us to express ourselves through an interest we already have, in a competitive way.
Sports trivia provides a medium of entertainment where an individual can actively participate in a game related to their favorite topic. It also provides a way for the participant to demonstrate their ability in a competitive way, in a subject they are well versed in, without having to physically exert themselves.
In another related aspect, sports trivia is so enjoyable to most sports fans because it allows him or her to show others how much they know about the topic. As I mentioned in another article, humans have the innate desire to demonstrate their intellectual ability; most people want to show that they are smart in one way or another. Since most sports fans love consuming sports-related information, this passive activity allows them to learn quite a bit about their favorite topic in a very enjoyable way, which lends itself indirectly to wanting to participate in sports trivia, since it is something they may be deeply interested in.