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Lyon students create new sports for art class

Lyon students are combining athleticism with creativity in the new Sports and Art course this semester.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Art Abigail Smithson said the course explores the way games are always changing, influenced by both the creativity of administrators behind the game and the creativity of individual players. 

“Sports are not stagnant,” Smithson said. “They are constantly evolving. For example, the National Basketball Association just changed some of its rules.”

Many modern sports took inspiration from preexisting games, she said, so she recently challenged her students to create a new sport as an assignment for the class. They had to brainstorm the rules, the equipment needed, the scoring system, and more.

On Oct. 21, the students got to do a literal field test of their games on the Grassy Knoll. Each student introduced their game and explained the rules to their classmates. The students then divided into teams to play the game for the first time. Smithson provided the equipment, and Professor of Art Dustyn Bork served as the referee.

DeVante White introduced the game “Freeze Ball.” Players would throw the ball to each other, but after catching it, they could take only a few steps before having to freeze in place and throw it to a teammate.

“It was definitely difficult coming up with a game when so many already exist,” White said. “Creating something unique is a challenge.”

Aria Switzer based her sport off of old Mayan games. Players could use only their feet, knees, and elbows to touch the ball. It was designed to be played in an indoor arena so that players could bounce the ball off of walls, but the class tweaked the rules slightly to test it out on the field.

“It was interesting seeing how it unfolded on the field,” Switzer said. “I watch a lot of soccer, so I pulled some ideas from that and combined them with these older games.”

If the new sports prove to be popular among students, Smithson would like to see if Lyon can offer them as intramural events to get more of the campus involved.

“There is always room for growth and change,” she said. “Even traditions like sports can add something new.”