The basic courtesies make sport not only pleasurable but possible. Without courtesies, however lame, however insincere, there is no sport. If sport wasn’t only a game, it wouldn’t be sport. We don’t pay good money to see two gangs of men who hate each other try to rip each other’s heads off; we pay to see them kick a bladder about and, by doing so, create mayhem and grace, fire and brimstone, triumph and disaster.
Sport matters more than ever before, in terms of money, prestige, size of audience. The stakes have never been higher. It is harder and harder for a professional athlete or coach to understand the great contradiction at the heart of sport: that sport matters only because it doesn’t matter, that sport requires heart-and-soul commitment to something that lacks all trace of life-and-death importance.
Why do players and managers shake hands before and after a game while they bay for blood in the meanwhile? In a stinging attack on José Mourinho, Simon Barnes (of The Times) explains the need for trivial, and often meaningless, courtesies, and how they make the world a much better place. One of the best sports pieces of the year!
No related posts.