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Sporting Transcendence

Recently I got quite caught up in a football game on television. It was a close match right to the very end. And in a dramatic finish the college team I was rooting for pulled off the victory. Watching it was a good way of spending a few hours. I did not experience any self-transcendence, however. . . . . Continue Reading »

The Faith of Arthur Ashe

When ESPN named its courage award after the late Arthur Ashe, they could not have made a better choice. World class tennis champion, educator and advocate for the oppressed, Ashe personified grace and dignity, especially during his final days.At the age of seven, Arthur picked up a racket for the . . . . Continue Reading »

Remembering Number 84

He scored forty times in an eight-year NFL career, best known, now, for the touchdown he didn’t score, as the sun set over Yankee Stadium on Dec. 28, 1958. His wife of fifty-nine years, Joan, said that Jim Mutscheller, who died on April 10, wanted to be known as a man “who had led a good life,” for he was “quiet, humble, and so conservative that he’d eat crabs with a suit and tie on.”And therein lies a tale—and a yardstick by which to measure pro sports then and now. Continue Reading »

On College Football (and Blaming ESPN)

The season ends in a few days, the first year of a playoff, and TV ratings will be astronomical. For real lovers of the game, though, the ones with an historical sense of things, it’s getting difficult to watch. How can you appreciate the contest when so much bad behavior by players happens? Continue Reading »

Grace at the U.S. Open

Last night, when Roger Federer broke Gael Monfils in the third game in the fourth set in their quarterfinal match at the U.S. Open, he let out his now characteristic “come on”—no over the top combustion here, but a controlled burn, just hot enough to last for hours without exhausting itself. Fans have come to take his reserved passion for granted, but the fact that Federer always seems in control should surprise more and more as time goes on, not less and less. And last night, the superiority of his mental composure was on full display. Continue Reading »

Don’t Joke About Sports

Sports are what men talk about when they really want to talk. Or at least that seems to be the case for many men, whose emotional lives are played out on big screen TVs and twenty-four hour media coverage of everything athletic. Whether it’s the suburbs, cities, or small towns, if you want to get personal with another man, you share commiserations about the home team over a communion of wings and beer. Continue Reading »

The Weird World of Sports

Sports nuts express their nuttiness in a variety of ways. My colleague Matt Berke, for example, is a monomaniacal sports nut. He likes only one sport, baseball, and only one team, the New York Yankees. Which of these is the more unfathomable is hard to say. Baseball is, of all sports other than . . . . Continue Reading »

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