Appreciate the arts

For too long, sports have been in the spotlight of America’s eye. It is time for the arts to get their chance to shine.

Sports have always been one of America’s favorite pastimes. From baseball to football, basketball to hockey, many students participate in their schools’ athletic extracurriculars. But what about the art programs? Most people know last week’s game scores, but can the same be said about who won BHS’s Poetry Out Loud competition? Across the nation, many turn their interests to sports over arts – and with endless possibilities and opportunities in that area, it is not hard to see why – but this ‘athletes over artists’ mindset is one that is in desperate need of a creative adjustment.

Arts, though similar to sports, are often cast aside as the lesser of the two paths. However, if one were to consider the similarities between the two, they would find that it is like choosing between apples and oranges – both are beneficial to oneself and others in terms of the takeaways. For example, students in theater spend hours upon hours rehearsing for a production that may only last a few nights. They will practice their lines and choreography until they can just about do it backwards, ready to present a flawless show. And after the curtain falls, they will prepare for the next one. If one is wondering why this sounds familiar, perhaps they will understand when they observe the months an athlete spends training for a race or game. These athletes push themselves, much like artists and performers, until they are in peak condition. They practice, practice, practice, hoping to be good enough to win. And when they lose? Well, they begin all over again. When it comes to arts and sports, the commonalities between the two are simply too great to ignore.

So if this is true, then why is it that sports are viewed as a means to a career, and arts are considered no more than creative hobbies? When one says that they plan on pursuing college through a sports scholarship, people nod and commend them for their path in life, but when another says that they wish to attend art school, they are received with questioning glances of concern for their futures. Sports and arts are not that different – they both involve competitions and are both means of entertainment for people, so why are they held in such opposite regards?

Not only are sports the overpopularized choice of entertainment, but they are also overfunded. Though it is not necessarily a bad thing to invest in things that display promise, like sports teams or players, it becomes an issue when art programs and clubs become cut in order to make room in the budget. Similarly, scholarships tend to center around sports concepts, rather than art-related ones. Many-a-student have joined high school sports programs in hopes of receiving a sports scholarship for college, and though fine and dandy this is, there are not nearly as many scholarships for those less athletically inclined.

This does not go to say that sports are in any way not important and need to be outlawed from society, no. It is true that they provide many benefits to those who pursue them. From providing a physical outlet for students to encouraging their competitive natures, sports can help many students find their passions and harbor healthy lifestyles. But these perks are not so incredible as to bury the benefits that one experiences in the arts. While it is true that the experiences and lessons between the two are very similar, there are some key differences that can provide a more rounded education than if one were to focus solely on sports. Whereas sports provide an obvious physical outlet, arts provide a more subtle way of expressionism. Students can sing, dance, paint and sculpt to their heart’s content, which is just as important to them as it is for those who are more athletically inclined to succeed in their own sport.

Overall, whether it is in a brightly-lit production on stage or an edge-of-the-seat game, both arts and sports provide important lessons for a well-rounded education. It is vital that schools continue to support art programs and fund them so that students may be able to find their own calling, whether that means becoming an artist, athlete or a combination of both. Whichever it is, the opportunities need to be available for a choice to be made – a choice that should not be influenced by popularity or accessibility.