Hockey is Art

“Hockey is Art, you say?”

Well…yes.  I guess I do.

Let me explain.

Mirriam-Webster’s dictionary defines art as follows:

  1. skill acquired by experience, study, or observation
  2. a branch of learning
  3. an occupation requiring knowledge or skill
  4. the conscious use of skill and creative imagination.

Searching the definition of art online will find you many more ideas, like my personal favourite, “a skill at doing a specified thing, typically one acquired through practice: the art of conversation.”

In my mind, the definitions speak for themselves.  But let me elaborate a little.

I like to think of art as the thing that allows a person to be completely themselves, a passion that allows them to be creative, gives them life, and builds refined skills while teaching life skills needed for everyday survival.  It really doesn’t matter if its painting, or if its sports. 

Having said that, the game of hockey requires some pretty advanced, creative skill. 

Movement for example.  Intricate footwork takes coordination, like dance.  You not only have to understand the logistics of the moves, but you have to be able to feel them, and allow them to become second nature.  There’s an art to that. 

Understanding a play requires imaginative thinking, and anticipation of what may or may not happen on the ice.  Like most music-making, hockey is a team sport that requires a player to be aware of the role and intention of the players around them.  (Think of an orchestra, all playing their own instruments and notes, but working together to play Beethoven’s Fifth.  There’s a team if I ever saw one.)  Wayne Gretzky said, “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” In my mind, that’s creative and critical thinking.  We do that in music all the time. 

They say that to become a professional musician, you need approximately 10,000 hours of practice outside of lessons.  The hours do count, but I’m not so sure that its about the exact number of hours as much as it is about one’s commitment to the craft.  Or to the skill-building. 

Or to the passion. 

So really, by definition alone, we could see how a sport that requires skill, patience and commitment, imagination, and creativity can be called art.  But when you live the game of hockey, you can FEEL the passion, adrenaline, freedom.  The same thing I feel when I make music.  And, for the record, the same thing I feel when I practice.

Friends – art is found in unexpected places.  My main message here is that it doesn’t matter what you do in life.  Even Albert Einstein said “The greatest scientists are artists as well.”  Art is about thinking beyond the problem or the challenge that’s in front of you, and finding a creative way to solve it. 

Sports, science, math, agriculture, music.  They are all art in my opinion.  But whatever you call YOUR work (or your play), I hope you also call it your passion, and maybe even your artform.

“……………… Art.”

You fill in the blank.