A term that has been loosely applied to forms of sports—or the way in which a particular activity is undertaken or sport played—that challenge the conventions or principles of an orthodox or dominant sporting form or practice. An example is frisbee, which in its aesthetic and style represented many values in stark contrast to the claimed values and benefits of organized team games or competitive sporting competition; its stress on spontaneity, participation, inclusivity, and informality proved attractive to many, particularly the young. Alternative sports are sometimes equated with particular subcultures and lifestyles, as in the more general case of alternative subcultures that act in ways critical of and counter to the mainstream dominant culture. Alternative sports, though, are usually, if persistingly popular, commercialized and organized into competitive forms linked to expanding consumer markets—as in the case of snowboarding.
Subjects: Sport and Leisure.