Sport: A Philosophic Inquiry

Sport: A Philosophic Inquiry

Sport: A Philosophic Inquiry

Sport: A Philosophic Inquiry

Excerpt

I am not an athlete. For a number of years, however, I have thought about sports, watched some of them, and have taken part in a few in a minor way. Recently, I have had the opportunity to discuss questions in this area with a number of coaches, athletes, and devoted spectators. I have also read articles and books in related fields, have attended training sessions, and have chatted with players in locker rooms. There has been a remarkable willingness on the part of coaches and players to help me understand what was happening. Some of my early judgments have consequently been discarded and others replaced, sometimes by those having an almost opposite emphasis.

On physiological and related issues there are, fortunately, a number of excellent studies. Apart from these, I have not found much knowledge or insight in the literature. A considerable portion of it is anecdotal in nature, content to recall high moments in various games, or to convey the somewhat elusive personality of athletes and coaches. What little history there is, is mainly occupied with noting the times and places at which records were made. Yet records, when detached from the adventure of achieving them, are only empty numbers. The best writings are technical. They offer hints and advice for improving skills or for avoiding dangers and obstacles in the way of excellent performances. But they leave a place for only an occasional idea, and this is usually borrowed and rather frayed.

I soon found myself in an endless desert through much of which, I am sorry to say, I had to make my way without compass or guide. I had to proceed alone, and try to think through the entire enterprise afresh. Some protection and guidance was, fortunately, provided by previous re-

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