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Who doesn’t enjoy watching, playing sports, and/or following sports?

Who doesn’t also love art— maybe not the kind you will see in museums—but we love film, TV, novels, and skateboards.

We love them for a wide variety of reasons, but the universal reasons that connect all of us lie in the following two thoughts:

  1. The rules favor no one
  2. There is finality at the end

Rules Favor No One

On many fronts, we are at a constant disadvantage. We know we don’t walk on even ground with others.

Jobs seem to go to the favored.

Riches flow to the more fortunate.

Health appears to rest on the blessed.

The rules that apply to one group don’t apply to others.

But life is different in sports and in art. Whether a player is five or eighty years old, the rules of a baseball game apply. No matter how badly an artist wants his art to not be confined to a particular medium, it has to go on something if it is to be displayed. No matter what.

There are three strikes, four balls, four bases, two foul lines, nine innings, and on and on for baseball. Sure, they can be ignored. A runner can decide to go from home plate to second, to first, to third, but the baselines aren’t cut that way, the field isn’t laid out that way, and the umps will stop it. The fans and the other players won’t have it either. So it won’t work.

Art lies is much the same. A canvas has four sides, is blank, and paint is applied to the front of it. To paint and have it enjoyed by others, an artist has to use the canvas and its constraints. Paint won’t hang in mid-air. A painting is a painting because it sits on a canvas (or a wall or paper).

Skateboard art is confined to a piece of wood made of 7 layers of maple, between 8 inches wide and 30 inches long on average. The art of the board can only go within the bounds, or it is cut off and vanishes. If you want to design a skateboard, it has to go on a board for people to buy and ride. Period. There is certainty to the games we love.

Sure, the rules are modified occasionally: baseball recently added a pitch clock to keep the game moving. It has helped tremendously. But the core rules are the core rules.

A strike isn’t a ball. A home run isn’t a single. The defense still plays in the field.

There is a rightness to the game and to art. There is a standard everyone is required to comply with, or they are not allowed to play or create. Oh, that day-to-day life was that way.

Finality at the End

Winners and losers, creators and non-creators: art and sports ultimately give us definitive answers.

A baseball game never just ends with no conclusion. There will be a winner and a loser. Some will go home happy, and some won’t. Currently, my Diamondbacks are the losers. Oh, well, at least they got this far.

Art is either created, or it’s not. There is no in-between. An artist either paints or draws and others see and buy it. Or the artist doesn’t exercise their gift; nothing is made, and no one knows about it but the artist.

Finality. Evidence of something done and something made. No ambiguity. Nothing else in life gives us the satisfaction of an end, a final result.

Here’s to the players, the artists, the games…

In my other jobs, I work with business people who want things written. I will pitch them a project, a price, and a timeframe. I’ll send the proposal, and sometimes I hear…nothing. Sometimes, they never get back to me. The email goes out, and I never hear again from them.

It’s not fun—the silence. I’d like a “yes” or a “no” from a potential client. I’d like a win or a loss on the proposal.

So would you.

So we turn to sports and art.

The NFL is rolling, the World Series is right around the corner, new novels are being released, and great skateboards are just a click away. In a world of uncertainty and rejection, we have these opportunities to find steady paths and results, uniting our families, friends, communities, and cities.

Let’s embrace those moments, learn from them, and enjoy them for what they give us.

Oh, and go D-backs! #redpandaboards

Christopher F. Dalton

Christopher F. Dalton is a writer, author, illustrator, small business owner, but more than that he is a follower of Christ, a husband, a father of three stellar sons, and friend in need. He and his wife run Huck&Dorothy, an entertainment company.