I’VE been involved in sport most of my life.

I played football (very badly) as a young man; I was a rugby coach for a fair percentage of my adult life and I’ve always been a spectator of most sports, even some that are not mainstream in this county (basketball and ice hockey).

Both my children – now grown up – played a wide variety of sports and my married daughter, who really should know better, is a staggeringly competitive martial artist who thinks nothing of flying off to America, Germany or Portugal to compete.

In my head, I have a clear concept of what is a sport is – as opposed to a game, pastime, hobby or simple physical activity.

I’ve been able to codify it and here are my five rules for sport.

Rule one is there must be an element of competition. To be a sport, there has to be an opponent. This doesn’t have to be a league, simply playing against someone else or another team does the job.

Rule two is there have to be rules that are laid down and clearly understood by all those taking part.

Rule three is there has to be significant physical exertion involved. In my book, if it doesn’t make you sweat, it’s not a sport.

Rule four is that to compete, there has to be some element of changing into a necessary and appropriate outfit or kit.

Rule five is to be successful at your chosen sport, you have to train first.

I could add rule six, if an engine is involved, it’s not sport but I’ll leave that one out.

I realise this list is prescriptive and if you apply the five-rule test to some of the games that dominate our televisions these days, some big name sports would fail.

And of course, it’s quite possible for some activities to be both a sport and a pastime simultaneously. Take, for example, the London Marathon.

For the elite runners, it most certainly is a sport that meets all my criteria. But for the fun-runners, it fails the competition test and is therefore a pastime.

Two weekend news items prompted these musings.

The first centred on a discussion on whether of not computer gaming could be classified as a bona fide sport. The second debate was about the unwillingness of girls to take up sport at school, but more of that later.

I don’t understand what the argument is about computer gaming because to me, even if is competitive, it fails at least two of my five rules.

But then again, so does darts, snooker, golf and chess but try telling the BBC and Sky Sports.

Now I know some of you armchair fans out there are going purple with rage at the moment, and some online gamers are shrugging your shoulders in disbelief but I think we need to be careful about what we classify as sport, especially as we appear to be facing an obesity crisis brought about in part by a lack of exercise.

Do we really want to go down the road our American cousins seem to have taken?

The following is taken from the US website develop-online.net: “The official League of Legends eSports tournament League Championship Series has been recognised as a fully professional sport by the US State Department.

“This is the first time a competitive gaming event has been approved by the by the US government.

“Players from outside the US can now move to the country under specific visas, which are provided for pro sports players coming to America to work.

So there you have, it and what the Americans did yesterday, we will inevitably do tomorrow.

I also heard two more conditions some people think must be met before a game or pastime can be considered a true sport. See what you think.

The first is that for it to be a sport, it must involve wearing special footwear (or no footwear at all). The second is that if you can wear a watch while competing, it’s not a real sport, which would effectively rule out tennis. I like the footwear rule, not so sure about the watch.

Anyway, back to schoolgirls not taking part in sport. Apparently, one of the problems is girls don’t want to take part because when they’ve finished, they don’t have enough time or facilities to do their hair and make-up and don’t want to be seen in public looking sweaty and bedraggled. The mind boggles.