A beautifully executed kick, an impeccable dive, and a Picasso painting, would one consider these to originate from the same category? We speak of art and aesthetic in life and sport, but are they one in the same? Some believe that some sports could be considered a form of art because of their aesthetically pleasing components, while others argue in opposition. In the world of sport there are two different categories, which include purposive sports and aesthetic sports. Within each category one may derive a few examples of beautifully executed movements, but does that constitute an art form or just an aesthetically pleasing component of sport? I will argue that sport can be considered a sub genre of art, although an artfully executed play or movement is not always the goal. There are definite overlapping factors that allude to sport being a form of art; in this article I will discuss such factors that may allow sport to be considered an art form in its own right and own genre.
Art is a form of expression, whether a painting, dance, poem, or sculpture it is an expression of the individuals thoughts, desires, and can reflect social, emotional, and political situations. Art as an expression of ones self is subjective and when first observed may not hold any intrinsic value or beauty, but once the meaning and understanding is established it has the ability to become beautiful, meaningful, and truly moving. In Bests’ article “The Aesthetic in Sport” he states, in art the means are inseparable from the end. He also believes that is may be the differing factor that makes sport not a form of art but only aesthetically pleasing to the spectator. He states that in the case of purposive sports the means are in no way connected to the end. In a game of soccer it does not matter in what way the goal was executed, but that the goal was scored. Aesthetic sports, however, are closer to an art form, considering that the means do correlate to the end product. In the example of the gymnast, it is all about how the action/performance was executed and aesthetics are what allow the athlete to succeed; but Best believes that the apparent lack of self-expression allowed in aesthetic sports is what separates it from the arts. In opposition Boxill disagrees. She believes that sport is considered a form of art, and I would have to agree.
In Boxill’s article “Beauty, Sport, and Gender” she makes many valid points to prove that sport is an art form. One, in which I strongly agree, is the parallel of how sport and art become aesthetically pleasing and become an object of self-expression. She references the novice musician or athlete and that in their attempts made to master a skill the beginning is never aesthetically pleasing. A sport or art form must become mastered in order to show beauty, skill, and fluidity in movement and form. I believe that sport, just like art, is an avenue to express oneself. Whether it is done skillfully or with beauty and grace, that may not necessarily be the main objective. I know that when I participate in sport it is a way to distress; this is also the case when I draw, sing, or dance. I may not have mastered each skill but it is still a form of my self-expression because it comes from me and no one else.
There are so many different forms of art, most are free of restriction and rules but some do have certain criterion that must be abided, such as in sport. Some type of poetry has certain criterion for which one must abide to be labeled so; this calls for more creativity on the part of the writer, just as in sport the rules are derived to challenge an athlete. Boxill uses the example of the 3-second lane in basketball, “was widened to prevent a 7-footer from just standing next to the basket waiting for a lob pass inside.” Such rules are made so that the athlete must use skill to complete a task. Yes, in sport grace and skill are not always achieved along side victory, but it does not conclude that the athlete has in no way showed a sense of self-expression.
There are many ways to express oneself. To be artistic should hold no boundaries. We all have the ability of self-expression and at times it may not always be viewed as beautiful and graceful, but that does not mean it lacks expression of oneself. We all have been a novice at a sport or instrument, or any other form of art, the beauty that we see in the world is subjective and no one should tell us that what we create or derive from our being is not art in its own right.