The theater of the sports arena



Last week, I touched on the relationship between sports and politics. Sticking with the subject of The Troubadour’s themed issues, let’s talk about the relationship between sports and fine arts this week.

There are so many parallels between sports and fine arts despite the fact that the two are seemingly worlds apart.

Players and performers rely on the support of their patrons who pay for tickets to events and purchase commemorative merchandise. While the two fan bases are loyal to their respective passions, sometimes the two worlds intermingle. Athletes will make appearances at the ballet while opera singers will perform the national anthem before a ballgame.

Most fine arts performances take place in a theater – opera, ballet, Broadway musicals and more – while graphic artists put their art on display in galleries. Athletes operate in the same manner. The stadium or arena can also be called a theater where the players put their talents, their own form of art, on display for the fans who flock to the games.

Attention to details is also another parallel between fine arts and sports. Artists are meticulous when it comes to the details of their drawings and paintings, paying careful attention to every stroke. Athletes are the same way. Pitchers pay attention to the angles at which they throw the ball while holders make sure that the laces on the football are spun before a kicker attempts a field goal.

That attention to detail comes as a result of hours and hours of practice. Before a performance hits the stage, every single note, every single step, has been planned out and rehearsed to a T. Meanwhile, athletes don’t just step onto the field without practice time. In fact, it is rare if an athlete gets a day off from practice.

With the hours and hours of practice comes an attitude of dedication and discipline that is necessary for artists, performers and athletes alike. They could not have committed so much of their lives, participated in so many hours of practices and performances, if they were not disciplined and dedicated to their craft.

Where there are similarities, we also have differences. One of the biggest differences between the arts and sports is that patrons of the fine arts know the outcome of the performances ahead of time. Sports fans, however, enjoy the suspense of the game that does not have a predetermined outcome.

I wish that sports were given the respect that the arts have because of the many similarities I just outlined. The public often views sports as a “rough and tumble world” with little to no finesse, unlike the arts, and, therefore, undeserving of respect. At the same time, I wish that the arts have as much support as sports do. If only 16,000 fans showed up to the Pittsburgh ballet, perhaps the public would have more appreciation for the finer things in life.

If you are a fan of sports, I would encourage you to attend a ballet, an opera performance or a gallery showing. Open yourself up to some of the finer things in life. If you are a fan of the arts, attend a baseball game. Look for the similarities I just described. You might find yourself seeing sports in a whole new light.

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