It seems that it’s becoming common to refer to four-wheeling as a “sport.” Recently, we’ve heard it referred to as “our sport” a lot, and it forced us to ponder exactly what that means (yes, we obviously have too much time on our hands).
We’ve heard that for something to be considered a sport a score must be kept. If this is true, then our seven-event Top Truck Challenge would be considered a sport. Mud racing, monster truck racing, rock racing, Tough Truck racing—all would be sports based on this definition, due to either being scored or timed. That logic makes sense to us.
But often nowadays, sport is used as a catchall term for many things 4x4-related. Is jeeping old mining trails in Colorado or running the sand of North Carolina’s Outer Banks a sport? If a person walked up to a grizzled old-timer in a flatfender Jeep high in the mountains of Colorado and asked him how he enjoyed the sport of four-wheeling, that person may get a blank stare and some tobacco juice on their shoes. Further, if said person sauntered up to a workin’ Joe in Minnesota who plows snow with his 4x4 all winter or the logger in Idaho who wheels to work every day and asks how the sport of four-wheeling has been treating ’em, they may find themselves on the receiving end of a lecture regarding the inherent differences between sports and work.
Another term bandied about in regards to four-wheeling nowadays is “hobby.” Webster’s Concise Desk Dictionary defines the word hobby as “pastime; thing done as a relaxation.” Calling a 4x4 or off-roading a hobby seems to make sense in many cases. Some wheelers are in their happy place spending hours in the garage working on their rig. Others relax by using their 4x4 to explore backcountry trails. However, it’s unlikely that the workin’ Joe considers his 4x4 a hobby. To a person like this who uses their truck for work, it’s not a hobby; it’s a valuable multifaceted tool.
So, is four-wheeling a sport or a hobby? One has to conclude that it would depend on how the 4x4 is being used. However, a conundrum occurs when a rig is used in competition one weekend and for a leisurely trail ride the next. Yep, this creates a major terminology dilemma.
In the end, while it may be annoying to some to hear their work truck or trail rig called a sport, it’s not as if the 4x4 lingo police are going to show up and haul away the offender for using the wrong terminology. Call it what you want, just get out there and do it.