17 June 2017

Bluegrass a sport?

The BIB editor writes:

BIB readers will have been following with intense interest the case of the English Bridge Union (EBU) in the European Court of Justice, claiming that bridge should be recognised as a sport. The court's advocate general, Maciej Szpunar, has been reported as defining sport as an activity that requires 'a certain effort to overcome a challenge or an obstacle' and 'trains a certain physical or mental skill'. The physical element is not even necessary: 'It is sufficient that the activity has a significant mental element which is material to its outcome.'

Bridge is already recognised as a sport by several countries and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the case is being closely followed by the English Chess Federation. The issue is primarily financial: recognition would bring tax exemptions and possible government funding.

Well, of course financial considerations are completely irrelevant in the bluegrass world; but otherwise, the BIB thinks the IBMA would have a strong case for claiming sports status for our favourite music. 'Trains a certain physical or mental skill' - yes; and if the physical element is deemed important, this would count in favour of old-school single-mic bands whose coordinated movement is a big part of what they do. They already have the 'significant mental element' in their passion and intensity. A claim to Olympic status would be based on the IOC's use of the term 'discipline' - bands in the Jimmy Martin tradition would find this requirement no problem. So go ahead and put our case, IBMA - before the other genres of music get in on the act.

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