October 24, 2012

Is sport an art?

It may have more in common with craft, but it does also provide timeless stories and reveal elements of the human condition
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In the early 1990s, there was a famous Reebok t-shirt with the simple slogan: "Sport is an art." Nice idea, but is it true? Can sport - which, by definition, is practical (score runs, take wickets) and competitive (beat the other guy) - belong to the same sphere as painting, literature and music?

The debate is not helped by the fact that sport and the arts are usually portrayed as antagonistic opposites - athletes v aesthetes, hearties v arties, jocks v thespians. From school to adult life, it is often (wrongly) assumed that there is little overlap between artistic creators and sporting competitors. (Writers, in fact, are often just as fiercely competitive as sportsmen.)

And yet no one (well, almost no one) disputes that sport can be beautiful. Last month, I tried to describe the aesthetic pleasure of watching David Gower bat - or just seeing him stand languidly and unhurriedly at the crease. When we watch Sachin Tendulkar turn his wrists at the very last moment, flicking the blade of the bat towards the on side just as the ball arrives under his eyes, we have experienced something beautiful: not just poise and grace but also concision and completeness. Nothing can be added or taken away from that Tendulkar flick that would not diminish the shot. Within its own terms, it cannot be improved upon.

A couple of years ago I watched Arsenal play Barcelona. The game finished a draw, but it was the spectacle rather than the result that left the deepest impression on me. Judged in terms of pure beauty - the physical grace of the players, the inventiveness of their movement - the match was surely the equal of any artistic or cultural event taking place in London that evening. Only someone with his eyes closed could pretend that the match had been defined completely in terms of goals scored and points bagged.

Occasionally I still hear arts-lovers complain that all sport is dull or anti-aesthetic. They are watching the wrong stuff. Anyone who loves ballet must surely recognise Roger Federer as one of their own. Again, elegance is matched by economy: the Federer effect is created not only by what he does but by what he avoids doing. There are no false brush strokes, no unnecessary chords, no superfluous sentences. There is no straining for effect, nothing is artificially tacked on.

There is another parallel between sport and the arts. In each sphere, the greats often have golden, productive spells late in their careers - periods when the insecurities have faded, when the urgent confusions that follow from deep ambition have receded. In his essay "Late Style", the academic Edward Said described how "age confers a spirit of reconciliation and serenity on late works". Yes, the artist may have been at the peak of his powers in his middle or "High" phase. But there is something even more moving about the final creative outpouring. (If you take only one thing from this article, listen, as I am doing now, to Richard Strauss' Four Last Songs - true Late Style.)

Said was writing about the arts, but the same principle applies to sport. The discerning fan will know the feeling of having watched a great player near the end of his career play sport on a higher level - without the fear and frantic-ness of his younger, restless days. We saw Late Federer in the Wimbledon final this summer, conjuring victory despite being outplayed for most of the first two sets. Late Zidane, too, seemed to grasp the whole football pitch before he made even the simplest pass. There was greatness in the small things - especially the small things.

But being beautiful does not make something an art. Many things are beautiful that cannot be classified as art. In The Principles of Art, the English philosopher RG Collingwood (no relation) set out to define the difference between an art and a craft. A skilled worker in a furniture workshop might be highly skilled - and might derive deep satisfaction from his work - but he is not an artist. He is a craftsman. A carpenter assembles bits of wood according to a plan for a table and, usually, the more exact the plan the better the table.

In contrast, art (according to Collingwood) demands a separation of means and ends. There must be an act of alchemy, the emergence of a creative vision. A poet "converts emotions into poems". Unlike the assembly of a table, the final poem is more than - and different from - the sum of its parts.

A great sportsmen, very occasionally, does something that transcends the activity of scoring a goal or making a shot. He taps into a deep instinct that he cannot quite understand

Where does this leave sport? I would say sport usually has more in common with craft than art. The batsman practising in the nets over many years is honing his craft. He is searching for a technique that is reliable, consistent, resilient and robust. And if one bit breaks or becomes damaged, he hopes the rest of his game will function adequately while he makes running repairs. The job of a good craftsman is to create a finished article that can be repaired without the whole thing always needing a structural refit.

But sport is not limited to being a craft. A great sportsmen, very occasionally, does something that transcends the activity of scoring a goal or making a shot. He taps into a deep instinct that he cannot quite understand, let alone articulate. But I suspect this artistic strand can only be achieved by accident. If I was a coach, I would be worried if my star batsman said, "Today I am going to bat beautifully." Far better that he tried to bat as simply and naturally as possible - and the beauty happened along the way, as a happy but unintentional by-product.

Sport, I think, can momentarily touch the arts. But it cannot permanently belong as one.

But sports certainly fulfil some artistic roles. In the classical world, the arts had a defined religious purpose. For the Greeks, watching a play was a communal act of piety, a form of shared worship. Modern sport achieves something similar. What do we feel when we walk among the masses to a vast sports stadium? We are part of the crowd, we share a purpose and sense of hope with the thousands around us - we belong to a broader congregation. That religious language follows naturally. The art critic Robert Hughes famously wrote that train stations were the cathedrals of the industrial age. To update Hughes: sports stadiums are the cathedrals of the post-industrial age.

Above all, sport provides us with timeless stories. It reveals, in dramatic ways, essential elements of the human condition. A few years ago, speaking at a BBC debate called "Sport v the Arts", the classical scholar Edith Hall made this startling claim: "Sport has only two narratives - either you win or you lose - how boring!"

The truth could not be more different. A moment's reflection reveals that within the overarching narrative of victory or defeat (there are also draws and ties, Edith), there are countless twists and subplots - often far more interesting and affecting than the headline-grabbing result. Sometimes you have to look more carefully to see the real story.

Sport can be experienced at many different levels. Just like the arts.

Former England, Kent and Middlesex batsman Ed Smith's new book, Luck - What It Means and Why It Matters, is out now. His Twitter feed is here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • CricFan24 on October 26, 2012, 3:37 GMT

    In any field ,actually, excellence can be equated to beauty and conciseness both. Even Mathematics. The "correct" equation is always the most compact, concise and beautiful - with no requirement of any additional element. You "know" when something is added just for the sake of "making" it appear beautiful...The beauty is in the functionality...Just like nature.

  • Essex_Man on October 25, 2012, 22:12 GMT

    Ed, stop using so many brackets! It detracts from your works of art!

  • harshthakor on October 25, 2012, 18:03 GMT

    Sport certainly has it's artistic significance.Infact the game of cricket would never have reached it's heights without this.Batsman like Zaheer Abbas,Denis Compton,Gundappa Vishwanath,Mohammad Azhauddin letc looked more like artists or poets while batting in full flow.They dominated bowling mercilessly but with the grace of a bird flying and the imagination of a musical composer.Watching Michael Holding bowl was also like seeing poetry in motion.Without this art it would not be cricket.

  • da_man_ on October 25, 2012, 14:53 GMT

    Very eloquently put Ed. There is a lot reflective analysis on show. As a physician, I sometimes reflect on the nature of medicine. Is it the science of medicine or the art of medicine? The answer lies, as in sport, somewhere in the middle. There are brief moments in sport (as in my medical career) which are crystallised as being unquestionably artistic, and confer that sense not just to one person, but to several people at once. Again, lovely article.

  • on October 25, 2012, 12:24 GMT

    The difference lies in the approach. An artist strives to create something beautiful, a craftsman strives to get something done. Roger Federer plays a backhand because he wants to connect racquet to ball and make it difficult for his opponent to retrieve. What defines his movement is where he wants to get the ball, at what speed and what sort of spin he wants to impart. If a prettier but less effective option exists, he will not choose it. A ballerina, on the other hand, only strives to be more beautiful. If a flourish is prettier, she will include it.

  • on October 25, 2012, 6:23 GMT

    loved the article. how can an sports article can be complete without Wasim's artistic bowling, and Shahbaz Ahmad Senior's art work with hockey stick.

  • on October 25, 2012, 3:19 GMT

    In my cricket team, there are currently 9 of us who have been or involved in the arts across writing, music and acting. A majority of us were Jocks and Artists at school so the two can coexist and also be mutually beneficial. One close friend and I hit the nail on the head one night out drinking and feeling very philosophical - Acting and Sport are the same thing. Before you head out there, you are nervous as hell, one performance can vary greatly to the next and to the previous. All the preparation in the world cannot prepare you for what is thrown at you and sometimes, best laid plans fall apart. The reason we do both is the challenge, the ability to make ourselves and those around us feel great about what they witness as spectators/audience and the buzz you get as a team-mate/cast member from someone doing well or the game/show being a huge success. Sport is about Performance and Performance is the key ingredient for entertainment.

  • on October 25, 2012, 1:13 GMT

    Great article Ed! I will use this in my Theory of Knowledge Class. Art is an Area of Knowledge and this is definitely a knowledge issue. Cheers!

  • TequillaGuy on October 24, 2012, 23:44 GMT

    @py0alb "Art defines the means, the artist searches for the ends. Sport defines the ends, the sportsman searches for the means"

    Beautifully said. Ed, you made another point about countless twists and subplots - often far more interesting and affecting than the headline-grabbing result. That is the main reason test cricket needs to be saved. It provides a broader canvas for cricketers to showcase their craftsmanship and more importantly, their artistry.

  • TequillaGuy on October 24, 2012, 23:21 GMT

    Very well crafted (?) article with an artistic pen. Like any artistic work,in case of sports the audience needs to have an eye for artistry to really appreciate it.A person who is new to cricket would not see the beauty and artistry of a Sachin's flick or languid Gower cover drives, Holding's elegant bowling action or Laxman's supple wrists creating beautiful angles.For them, it's just another couple of runs added to the score card or another wicket down. Like sports,art also requires practice and honing of the skill.It's not like you get up one day and start making mesmerizing paintings or melancholic poems. Sometimes,there is that magical moment which can not be articulated where craftsmanship transcends itself and becomes artistry.This is by accident,even in case of artists.Those couple of extra brushstrokes, use of a particular word or sentence when there are 5 more ways to say the same or for that matter, choosing a particular shot over other perfectly acceptable shots,thats art!

  • CricFan24 on October 26, 2012, 3:37 GMT

    In any field ,actually, excellence can be equated to beauty and conciseness both. Even Mathematics. The "correct" equation is always the most compact, concise and beautiful - with no requirement of any additional element. You "know" when something is added just for the sake of "making" it appear beautiful...The beauty is in the functionality...Just like nature.

  • Essex_Man on October 25, 2012, 22:12 GMT

    Ed, stop using so many brackets! It detracts from your works of art!

  • harshthakor on October 25, 2012, 18:03 GMT

    Sport certainly has it's artistic significance.Infact the game of cricket would never have reached it's heights without this.Batsman like Zaheer Abbas,Denis Compton,Gundappa Vishwanath,Mohammad Azhauddin letc looked more like artists or poets while batting in full flow.They dominated bowling mercilessly but with the grace of a bird flying and the imagination of a musical composer.Watching Michael Holding bowl was also like seeing poetry in motion.Without this art it would not be cricket.

  • da_man_ on October 25, 2012, 14:53 GMT

    Very eloquently put Ed. There is a lot reflective analysis on show. As a physician, I sometimes reflect on the nature of medicine. Is it the science of medicine or the art of medicine? The answer lies, as in sport, somewhere in the middle. There are brief moments in sport (as in my medical career) which are crystallised as being unquestionably artistic, and confer that sense not just to one person, but to several people at once. Again, lovely article.

  • on October 25, 2012, 12:24 GMT

    The difference lies in the approach. An artist strives to create something beautiful, a craftsman strives to get something done. Roger Federer plays a backhand because he wants to connect racquet to ball and make it difficult for his opponent to retrieve. What defines his movement is where he wants to get the ball, at what speed and what sort of spin he wants to impart. If a prettier but less effective option exists, he will not choose it. A ballerina, on the other hand, only strives to be more beautiful. If a flourish is prettier, she will include it.

  • on October 25, 2012, 6:23 GMT

    loved the article. how can an sports article can be complete without Wasim's artistic bowling, and Shahbaz Ahmad Senior's art work with hockey stick.

  • on October 25, 2012, 3:19 GMT

    In my cricket team, there are currently 9 of us who have been or involved in the arts across writing, music and acting. A majority of us were Jocks and Artists at school so the two can coexist and also be mutually beneficial. One close friend and I hit the nail on the head one night out drinking and feeling very philosophical - Acting and Sport are the same thing. Before you head out there, you are nervous as hell, one performance can vary greatly to the next and to the previous. All the preparation in the world cannot prepare you for what is thrown at you and sometimes, best laid plans fall apart. The reason we do both is the challenge, the ability to make ourselves and those around us feel great about what they witness as spectators/audience and the buzz you get as a team-mate/cast member from someone doing well or the game/show being a huge success. Sport is about Performance and Performance is the key ingredient for entertainment.

  • on October 25, 2012, 1:13 GMT

    Great article Ed! I will use this in my Theory of Knowledge Class. Art is an Area of Knowledge and this is definitely a knowledge issue. Cheers!

  • TequillaGuy on October 24, 2012, 23:44 GMT

    @py0alb "Art defines the means, the artist searches for the ends. Sport defines the ends, the sportsman searches for the means"

    Beautifully said. Ed, you made another point about countless twists and subplots - often far more interesting and affecting than the headline-grabbing result. That is the main reason test cricket needs to be saved. It provides a broader canvas for cricketers to showcase their craftsmanship and more importantly, their artistry.

  • TequillaGuy on October 24, 2012, 23:21 GMT

    Very well crafted (?) article with an artistic pen. Like any artistic work,in case of sports the audience needs to have an eye for artistry to really appreciate it.A person who is new to cricket would not see the beauty and artistry of a Sachin's flick or languid Gower cover drives, Holding's elegant bowling action or Laxman's supple wrists creating beautiful angles.For them, it's just another couple of runs added to the score card or another wicket down. Like sports,art also requires practice and honing of the skill.It's not like you get up one day and start making mesmerizing paintings or melancholic poems. Sometimes,there is that magical moment which can not be articulated where craftsmanship transcends itself and becomes artistry.This is by accident,even in case of artists.Those couple of extra brushstrokes, use of a particular word or sentence when there are 5 more ways to say the same or for that matter, choosing a particular shot over other perfectly acceptable shots,thats art!

  • Karthickk on October 24, 2012, 21:39 GMT

    Nice article. I do not care whether sport is an art or a craft. What bothers me is that is has been made a Science. Sport is not Science, these days it has been made that way. Too much technology, aerodynamic dress/shoes, artificial performance enhancement mechanism etc is dominating cricket. Not just cricket, any sport is enjoyed at best either as art or as craft not as science. For sport to remain a sport, cricket for instance the major reason is the frequency of matches, they should be reduced first. All players are humans, they cannot keep playing and playing for ever and then take ice bath immediately and continue the next day. Not a healthy sign for sport, as long as this continues it will be science and the fun is lost. Look at WI winning the T20 world cup, they thoroughly enjoyed, now when they are expected to win every time, the dynamics and pressure changes. Their attitude towards game changes and they might start sledging. This is what happened to other teams. Sad state.

  • EverybodylovesSachin on October 24, 2012, 21:21 GMT

    Yes Indeed...Look at the upper cut by Sachin off Brett Lee at WACA..

  • py0alb on October 24, 2012, 20:21 GMT

    Hi Ed. This is a topic I have discussed before. Its wise to look at the big picture to gain a holistic understanding. Humankind has developed several means of self expression, art and sport being the two most prominent.

    There is no practical use to either; both only exist as a means of expression. The mechanism is different: in art the method of communication is defined (eg audible, visual, written word) and the rules of expression are bent and often broken by the artist. In sport, the rules and aim is well defined, and it is the method of achieving these ends that is allowed to change from performance to performance.

    Art defines the means, the artist searches for the ends. Sport defines the ends, the sportsman searches for the means.

  • AjaySridharan on October 24, 2012, 18:24 GMT

    Too much noise being made about art, and I'm tired of musicians, dancers, painters and poets being broadly categorized as "artists". There is no such broad category. Art manifests itself in everyday life of everyone, if you only pay attention. Let's face it - there are good artists and bad artists. You can't assign the bad artist a higher pedestal than you would to a good sportsman. A more pertinent question is the pursuit of mastery. Can you pursue mastery (or be called a master) in sports as you could in "arts"? Most definitely yes! The path of a master, irrespective of what field we are talking about, is rather similar. Countless hours of toil, study, mistakes, inspiration and above all practice. Let's shun this mystical magical air we give to "arts". Moments of magical inspiration happen in arts and sports. But more often than not, artists toil as hard as Rahul Dravid does for his runs

  • on October 24, 2012, 17:24 GMT

    Cricket is more like poetry in motion -- as NS Siddhu would say. Md Azhar's wristy masterpieces, Sachin's straight drive, Mark Waugh's sq cuts, Lara's cover drives, Warne's flipper, Murali's doosra, Waqar's reverse.

  • jrd91225 on October 24, 2012, 16:35 GMT

    Sport definitely has an the element of artistry in it. In cricket, you have the Sachin Tendulkar straight drives and flick shots, the Brian Lara and Sourav Ganguly cover drive, the Shane Warne legspinner, etc. In Football, you had Maradona's brilliance. In American football, you had Barry Sanders runs with the unbelievable jukes and moves. In MMA, you have Anderson Silva destroying opponents with surgical precision and the elegance of a ballet performer (not sure how many people here watch MMA). Watching Usain Bolt effortlessly glide down the track or a Ray Allen jumpshot is artistic too. In other words, there are way too many examples in sports to point out. That alone should prove beyond doubt that sport has art embedded in it.

  • on October 24, 2012, 15:55 GMT

    Sublime article - both art and craft!

  • on October 24, 2012, 14:09 GMT

    Good insight but Cricket cannot be compared to Football, Tennis, Rugby etc because only 7 countries of more than 200 play Cricket full time. Just shows how unpopular Cricket really is in my mind and the only reason I believe it is still a popular sport is because of India's population nothing else. Football, Rugby etc has many countries playing at the highest level Cricket does not for example more than 50 European countries but only 1 plays Cricket full time same with Africa and none in North or South America.

  • on October 24, 2012, 13:56 GMT

    Gem of an article... Sachin, the artist played with another great Rahul, more of a technician... Dravid earned lots of respect but people love Sachin, the artist more... Spectators love artists more than technicians... Technician may win a game for you but artists win hearts... What is the difference between Mahela and Kumar, Yousuf and Younis, Kohli and Dhoni, Jamshed and Hafiz..? The elegance, the artistry that Mahela brings with his batting cannot be matched by anone else, although he may be outscored...

  • on October 24, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    Excellent article! One of the best, definitely. I once said to an artist friend of mine that I found Mohammad Yousuf's cover drive a beautiful experience. This articles provides the closure to that.

    Of course it isn't 'art', to 'strike an ounce of leather with a log of wood', but it definitely creates moments of exquisite grace and beauty, which cannot be described as mere sport. It is the expression of a person's delicate and graceful poise which is the art in sport.

  • dalesteyn123 on October 24, 2012, 13:14 GMT

    brilliant article...... a picture of shane warne would have been more appropriate as I think he was truly an artist.....

  • hoags on October 24, 2012, 12:37 GMT

    Good article. I think the general plan he speaks of that makes it similar to a craft rather than art would be something like the MCC coaching manual. Most people derive a large chunk of their technique, and certainly almost all of their shots from there. There are some noteable exeptions however. I think the freaks like Cairns and Afridi who play by their own rules and make up shots of their own are proof there is a strong cross over with art too. Who could see Cairns 'drive' Brett Lee off short of a length straight back over his head for 6, or turn to face square leg, to straight drive Warne over square for 6, and disagree? The odd player, definitely by far the exeption rather than the rule, seems to treat the bat much more like an extention of their person, or a paint brush even, rather than a tool to work with.

  • OldAdam on October 24, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    Why should anyone ever debate "Sport v the Arts"? They are not mutually exclusive. My perfect day might involve watching England beat Australia at Lords followed by an evening singing Bach! But I do remember being considered a little strange in my younger days because if I wasn't playing football I'd be rehearsing or performing with one choir or another. Perhaps there are perceptions to be challenged but that doesn't necessarily mean confusing sport and art. They both both feed the inner man but in different ways and for different reasons.

  • crazy.mechanic on October 24, 2012, 11:57 GMT

    yeah for me sports is an art! here are few artists with their majestic strokes: Rahul Dravid :defence,Sachin Tendulkar:straight drive,Waqar Younis: yorker,Glen Mcgrath: precission,Shane Warne: leg spin king,VVS Laxman: wristy flick,Brian Lara: cover drive.Well if this is not artistry than what is??

  • SirWilliam on October 24, 2012, 11:55 GMT

    It can be art and it can be craft. It can also be sensual - anyone who has experienced the feeling of playing a perfectly-timed cover drive will know this.

  • HumungousFungus on October 24, 2012, 10:47 GMT

    Another excellent and thought provoking article, Ed. By the definitions in the article, I would question whether the Tendulkar flick, for example, could truly be classified as art, given that it is an instinctive reaction bred by years of doing exactly the same thing when the ball pitches in exactly the same area. If we talk of "the emergence of a creative vision" and "something that taps into a deep instinct that he cannot quite understand" in cricket terms, I wonder whether we could consider Stan McCabe's legendary 187 at Sydney in the midst of a full-blown Bodyline assault to be of significant artistic merit? The fact that he scored hardly any runs in the rest of the series would suggest so...To the "Sport As Art" list, then, I would also add any any number of tries by Welsh rugby international Shane Williams, any You Tube film featuring former Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders, and the entire golfing career of Severiano Ballesteros...

  • Hammond on October 24, 2012, 10:33 GMT

    Anyone who has seen that famous Bedlam (even if posed) shot of Trumper moving out to drive or that equally famous shot of Hammonds cover drive during the 1928/29 ashes cannot deny that certain batsman (maybe not Ian Healy) have an artistic quality about them.

  • PanGlupek on October 24, 2012, 10:06 GMT

    Really nicely done - last few paragraphs sum up why I love test cricket: On the face of things, a lot of 5-day games are boring, but when you see the sub-plots, the patience of batsmen waiting for one they can lace through the covers, the one-on-one tussles that mean nothing in the big scheme of things. Also, I personally think the sound & appearance of a perfect cover-drive is equally as pleasing to the eye as any work of art.

  • on October 24, 2012, 9:38 GMT

    Well, reading this has reinstated my belief that T20 can never be the art that Test cricket is!

  • on October 24, 2012, 9:29 GMT

    Electric etc - as P G Wodehouse once said ' he would have described Taj Mahal as a nifty tomb' - A man hath no appreciation in him of VVS flick, a Gower drive, a Ponting Pull or Gavaskar cover drive Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils :)

  • Nutcutlet on October 24, 2012, 9:17 GMT

    Another little gem, Ed! Another article of yours has lightened my day. Thank you. I like your update of Bobby Hughes' quote: that sports stadiums...cathederals of the post- industrial age. I suspect that Hughes was thinking of the architecture of the train stations rather more than the 'worshippers' flocking to them (but nice try!). Most (football) stadiums are ugly & many new ones look as if they have come out of a flat pack self-assembly: identical, characterless & certainly devoid of anything that pleases the eye. There is, however, something that offers soul-food in many picturesque village grounds & when the weather's fine; play's underway & the players flit or amble hither & thither wearing whites on a lovingly presented ground - then we have something that is deeply satisfying to the senses. No wonder so many artists reach for their brushes! Finally, give me early Wordworth over the Tory of later years; he's an exception to your late-maturing argument! Just being provocative.

  • ygkd on October 24, 2012, 9:07 GMT

    The distinction between sport and art has become blurred far more than the article states. Hollywood block-busters seem to contain less-and-less art and more-and-more muscle than ever, not to mention some popular American wrestling! How would RG Collingwood's nice little line about the differences between art and craft would fare with today's electronic entertainment where assembling different bits like scenes and scripts is a director's and producer's job? Hollywood seems more interested in converting others emotions into money rather than it's own emotions into poems. Cricket is, match-fixing not-with-standing, an unscripted performance. Does that not make it art? If not what about Mahela's late cut? There is more poetry in that than much of modern verse.

  • on October 24, 2012, 8:46 GMT

    @electric_loco_WAP4 - Art refers to creative skill that is primarily appreciated for it's beauty or emotional power. This video has got both of it - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJC-5dUT3eM

  • on October 24, 2012, 7:51 GMT

    Such a great premise for sports writing, Ed. Kudos for thinking it and then writing on it so well. "Sport, I think, can momentarily touch the arts. But it cannot permanently belong as one." This is how I tend to view a lot of cricket and indeed my favourite cricketers. There are many cricketers I love yet the only three who have lifted the game to an art form in my two decades of watching the game. With the bat, it was Brian Charles Lara. With the ball, it was Wasim Akram and Shane Warne.

  • jaykalp on October 24, 2012, 7:48 GMT

    In India, there was an uproar when Sachin was being considered for Bharat Ratna, the highest Indian civilian Awards. And it made me think, when artists from film industry can get it, why not sports persons ??? After all, the same level of passion and grit goes into the making of a Sports Person...and they entertain the common man the same way as the singers and musicians do!! Well, if you ask me, entertaining is an art and Sports Persons are all artists!

  • ManishKhorgade on October 24, 2012, 7:34 GMT

    To "electric_loco_WAP4", That, my friend, means that you don`t understand this article.. let alone the sport and Tendulkar flick!

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on October 24, 2012, 6:36 GMT

    Interesting piece there...I don't mean an offence to Tendulkar a good player but don't you think it is stretching things too far comparing a flick shot to art? It is only demeaning art to equate it to essentially a bloke thrashing an ounce of leather with a thick log of wood ....far from artistic .Just doesn't fit in when you think the magical world of art and the incredible talent of the great artists and the glorious works of art in different forms.Not worth it...

  • on October 24, 2012, 3:30 GMT

    Very well written !!! A person who understands the sport/art can admire every moment of it..

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  • on October 24, 2012, 3:30 GMT

    Very well written !!! A person who understands the sport/art can admire every moment of it..

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on October 24, 2012, 6:36 GMT

    Interesting piece there...I don't mean an offence to Tendulkar a good player but don't you think it is stretching things too far comparing a flick shot to art? It is only demeaning art to equate it to essentially a bloke thrashing an ounce of leather with a thick log of wood ....far from artistic .Just doesn't fit in when you think the magical world of art and the incredible talent of the great artists and the glorious works of art in different forms.Not worth it...

  • ManishKhorgade on October 24, 2012, 7:34 GMT

    To "electric_loco_WAP4", That, my friend, means that you don`t understand this article.. let alone the sport and Tendulkar flick!

  • jaykalp on October 24, 2012, 7:48 GMT

    In India, there was an uproar when Sachin was being considered for Bharat Ratna, the highest Indian civilian Awards. And it made me think, when artists from film industry can get it, why not sports persons ??? After all, the same level of passion and grit goes into the making of a Sports Person...and they entertain the common man the same way as the singers and musicians do!! Well, if you ask me, entertaining is an art and Sports Persons are all artists!

  • on October 24, 2012, 7:51 GMT

    Such a great premise for sports writing, Ed. Kudos for thinking it and then writing on it so well. "Sport, I think, can momentarily touch the arts. But it cannot permanently belong as one." This is how I tend to view a lot of cricket and indeed my favourite cricketers. There are many cricketers I love yet the only three who have lifted the game to an art form in my two decades of watching the game. With the bat, it was Brian Charles Lara. With the ball, it was Wasim Akram and Shane Warne.

  • on October 24, 2012, 8:46 GMT

    @electric_loco_WAP4 - Art refers to creative skill that is primarily appreciated for it's beauty or emotional power. This video has got both of it - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJC-5dUT3eM

  • ygkd on October 24, 2012, 9:07 GMT

    The distinction between sport and art has become blurred far more than the article states. Hollywood block-busters seem to contain less-and-less art and more-and-more muscle than ever, not to mention some popular American wrestling! How would RG Collingwood's nice little line about the differences between art and craft would fare with today's electronic entertainment where assembling different bits like scenes and scripts is a director's and producer's job? Hollywood seems more interested in converting others emotions into money rather than it's own emotions into poems. Cricket is, match-fixing not-with-standing, an unscripted performance. Does that not make it art? If not what about Mahela's late cut? There is more poetry in that than much of modern verse.

  • Nutcutlet on October 24, 2012, 9:17 GMT

    Another little gem, Ed! Another article of yours has lightened my day. Thank you. I like your update of Bobby Hughes' quote: that sports stadiums...cathederals of the post- industrial age. I suspect that Hughes was thinking of the architecture of the train stations rather more than the 'worshippers' flocking to them (but nice try!). Most (football) stadiums are ugly & many new ones look as if they have come out of a flat pack self-assembly: identical, characterless & certainly devoid of anything that pleases the eye. There is, however, something that offers soul-food in many picturesque village grounds & when the weather's fine; play's underway & the players flit or amble hither & thither wearing whites on a lovingly presented ground - then we have something that is deeply satisfying to the senses. No wonder so many artists reach for their brushes! Finally, give me early Wordworth over the Tory of later years; he's an exception to your late-maturing argument! Just being provocative.

  • on October 24, 2012, 9:29 GMT

    Electric etc - as P G Wodehouse once said ' he would have described Taj Mahal as a nifty tomb' - A man hath no appreciation in him of VVS flick, a Gower drive, a Ponting Pull or Gavaskar cover drive Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils :)

  • on October 24, 2012, 9:38 GMT

    Well, reading this has reinstated my belief that T20 can never be the art that Test cricket is!