More often than not, I find myself deeply entertained by both the art behind sports, and the excitement of watching a great game. It seems that over time, many of us forget about the healing elements of sports; and the entertainment of the game can serve us with more than just a distraction. Many of us have to roll through the punches of not only our daily stresses but our national insecurities as well. Despite the competitive nature of sports and the vastness of art, they both tend to shed some light on truth while bringing us together.
In the U.S., we have been inundated with school shootings, terrorist scares and of course, the lingering emotional burden of the September 11th attack. Internationally, we have seen a series of wars, planes missing, and extremists kidnapping schoolgirls. All of these issues add to our list of anxieties and often times, we become undone by it all. In the wake of some of these great tragedies, art and sports has served as inspiration and offered some much-needed hope.
After the world witnessed the bombing at the Boston Marathon in 2013, many needed something to allow them to feel good. Andrea Duke, the author of the article Sports as an Escape, poundingtherock.com, discusses her experience: “In the wake of the bombings, so many people turned to sports to find solace. I found an escape in the Monday night Spurs/Golden State game. For a few hours that night, I forgot about what happened earlier in the day and just enjoyed watching the game (even though we lost). And for the rest of the week, we had sport games galore to turn to for entertainment and excitement, games to help us forget.”
Not only did the games provide an escape, but also offered some ground to stand on. Duke elaborates, “Sports are the universal connector. They bring nations together, cities together, even strangers together, for a collective purpose. How our nation reacted to the bombings is what makes America so incredible. People can be thousands of miles away from a tragedy, yet still find ways to support. Sport rivalries were thrown out the window last week, with teams and fans huddling together for one big win… Media plastered images of baseball fans from all over the US dancing and singing to ‘Sweet Caroline.’ The Boston Celtics placed a patch on their uniforms and Boston Red Sox wore special "BOSTON" uniforms, all in remembrance.”
In the same way that sports events motivate us to rise above tragedy, art acts as a healing agent and a vehicle to escape visually the daily tedium, and often tragic, worldly events. On the site artandhealing.org, you will find an abundance of stories that show the curing power of art. For Jason Moon, music was his chosen art that rescued him from the depths of PTSD after his time in Iraq. Author Claire Berman quotes Jason stating, “The process of writing a song is more important to me than whether anyone hears it. I’m trying to express something inside of me, and it’s something that has to be released.” Berman continues, “For Jason, writing songs about PTSD was his way of bringing the enemy onto familiar terrain where he had the upper hand. ‘[Writing that first song] felt dangerous,’ he says. ‘But mostly—mostly it was incredibly liberating.’”
Many find truth and healing in different forms but here at SAI, we believe that art and sports can be exceptionally therapeutic. We find a connection to an instant, a moment, an occurrence, where an athletic action was an integral part of an escape. That moment in one's athletic career or that of a hero's performance symbolizes an instance of glory; that flash that continues to motivate and generate hope. That inspirational piece of art invites an escape into the world of sporting competition and fame. All of us at SAI encourage you to navigate through the works of our inspiring artists to motivate or reach out and find within you what you know to be true and beautiful!