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Page last updated at 10:49 GMT, Friday, 23 October 2009 11:49 UK
Sport v arts? The debate begins

Simon Pryde
BBC Newcastle's Total Sport presenter

BBC Newcastle's Simon Pryde
Simon Pryde will join a panel of speakers to debate sport v art

Simon Pryde on explains why he thinks sport is a greater human achievement than the arts, ahead of a bigger debate as part of the Free Thinking festival at The Sage Gateshead on Sunday 25 October.

Sport or the arts - which is the greater human achievement?

It's almost embarrassing to have to answer this question.

Sport is the very essence of the human spirit, and the human soul.

It engenders emotions the arts - in any form - can never emulate.

I accept great writing, painting, and performance can be inspiring to a point.

'Pompous numpties'

The crux of the matter is, though, that sport is spontaneous. You do not know what is going to happen next.

Liverpool's extraordinary comeback in the 2005 Champions League Final. Usain Bolt making history in Beijing. Red Rum's third National. Jarrow Roofing's 1-0 win over Spennymor Town in the Durham Challenge Cup Third Round earlier this week.

Jonny Wilkinson's drop goal in 2003. Your eight-year-old daughter making her debut for the school team - and scoring a goal she'll talk about forever.

Jonny Wilkinson
Jonny Wilkinson - does he inspire raw emotion for you?

I could sit tapping examples on my keyboard all day. And beyond.

No writer, no artist can come up with such raw, electric, tear inducing moments as these, no matter how hard they try.

Sit in an opera for four hours next to all manner of pompous numpties while some wailing, snooty nosed, dolled-up, dullard shrieks incomprehensibly, or be present for 9.69 seconds while Bolt stuns the world in an Olympic final.

Yeah, right… no contest!

Sport is for everyone, embraces everything and everyone, it's a mirror for life, the good and the bad. It combines the physical and the creative, spirituality and wisdom, grace and power.

And it stops kids fighting, taking heroin and stabbing people. Seriously, it does.

The arts, by comparison, are exclusive, monotonous, mundane and banal.

Disagree with Simon? Get along to the BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival - tickets are free and available from The Sage Gateshead on 0191 443 4661.




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