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Fine Arts and Sports: Who Really Gets the Spotlight?

by Erica Jane, Entertainment Editor

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Ever since I was a lost preteen, music has always been my calling. It wasn’t immediate, but I knew. I was surrounded by people who mirrored the same affection I have for music. The trouble was, no one beyond my circle of musicians felt the same way; we were alone in a world that presented to be cruel to the arts. Benjamin Franklin described fine arts to be the ideal balance in education- so, why doesn’t it feel that way?

The critically acclaimed sports like football, soccer, basketball and track and field have honed the limelight. Most, if not all, funding belongs to the sports. School districts lose their minds over what team loses, and the distinguished value of a school is determined by the wins and loses their sports have. Adorned by all, even the underdogs, sports and any athletic triumph is the eye candy of our youthful education. Where do the fine arts fit in? Even our school plays, our recitals and hard work, are constantly undermined by sports. There is little to no excitement over anything that doesn’t cater to the public’s need for athletics.

Music and arts have been famed throughout history. History wouldn’t be history without the token backdrop montage, or the curious work of art framed along your hallways. Music has been the link to expanding the brain’s horizons. By analyzing music and figuring the rhythm repeatedly, students who participate in a fine art are shown to be more mentally aware of their surroundings and in tune with their learning. According to the US Department of Education, in 2016, a study with 8,800 8th graders from 280 schools explained that students who engaged in a visual, or musical art, showed immense growth in their education.

The article reads, “In music, female students scored higher on average than their male peers, and students in private schools had higher average scores than students attending public schools.” And in lieu of visual arts, it says, “A higher percentage of students in the Northeast reported taking a visual arts course than their peers in the other regions.”

What does this mean? Are students that indulge in the fine arts automatically smarter than athletes? Do fine art students deserve any leeway because of their bigger brain? Absolutely not; any student who works hard and shows effort deserves a good pat on the back, any student who stays late to excel in something they’re passionate about should be celebrated. If musicians and artists don’t get that leeway, why do athletes?

Typically, as a requirement, student-athletes are pushed to have a 2.0 GPA, or above. They are expected to balance schoolwork and their work, along with any other activity outside of school. They are seen as the school’s heroes because of all the work they put off. They are excused from class and often times, are the hub of the classroom. Their efforts and determination are taken seriously. A study from the University of Kansas explains that students who participate in athletics are more likely to succeed than non-athletes.

The study says that, “…98% of athletes in Kansas’s class of 2012 graduated, compared with 90% of non-athletes… Students must pass five credit units per semester to be eligible to play. Most schools also to ask students to be in school to be allowed to attend practice or play in a game that day.”

When musicians come back from an 18-hour rehearsal and are exhausted beyond their minds, they are expected to hold the same standards as everyone else. The common disbelief that musicians and artists don’t work hard is futile. We sit in the heat for hours on end, our eyes scattered and fingers weak from the runs and countless repeats. The mental exhaustion and physical wariness artists feel on a daily are consistently overlooked. The misconception that musicians don’t deserve the attention like student-athletes do is wrong. The amount of energy and time put into both precious and admirable. There is no right or wrong, but the equality is lacking.

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Fine Arts and Sports: Who Really Gets the Spotlight?