There are sports closely related to art in which winners are determined by the beauty of artistic elements of their performance. Judges in figure skating assess beauty and complexion of figures, as well as the precision of the execution. Scoring in diving or artistic swimming, formerly known as synchronized swimming, is not that much different in this regard.
However, this would be just a crude definition of the relationship which goes much deeper. Creativity, beauty, elegance, and emotion might be some of the essential ingredients of art, but the same elements can be found quite easily in the world of sports, as well.
“What did I do right that allowed me to make a pass – any given pass? There’s a balance; there’s a vision.” John Stockton, the most statistically impressive playmaker in the history of basketball, had this to say about the way he played. Slinging single-handed passes across the court, he was probably the closest thing to a basketball quarterback. He never won a single ring, but he was accepted into the Hall of Fame as an all-time NBA leader in assists.
Roy Hudson, arguably the best football commentator in the world, once said that “[Andrés Iniesta] doesn’t pull rabbits out of his hat, he pulls out big, beautiful peacocks.” The way the legendary Barcelona’s midfielder played is the epitome of beauty in football. As if he was in love with it, he understood the game perfectly. His movement, unique dribbles and pinpoint passes gave football back its beauty, which was stolen the moment it started transforming into a modern-age physical and strategic competition.
“He was as elegant as a dancer – he even used the soles of his boots efficiently. Everything was easy for him.” – That’s what legendary Franco Baresi once said about Zinedine Zidane. Zizou was a true artist in the body of a football player. His moves were so elegant, yet surgically precise; his ideas ingenious, yet his execution so simple. He was a natural winner, his collection of trophies impressive, but his artistry on the pitch will be equally remembered.
“It is not the size of a man but the size of his heart that matters,” Evander Holyfield once said. While this statement has proven to be correct about boxing many times, it can most certainly be applied to every type of competition – passion is always a powerful motivator, and the heart is the engine of passion. Back in 2004, Greece won the European football championship after pulling a shocker never before seen in football history. Perhaps there was not much beauty and elegance in their game, but their hearts were beating as one, and their collective strength and unity were almost poetic.
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