Our Common Country: Mutual Good Will in America

By Warren G. Harding; Warren G. Harding III | Go to book overview

XII

THE VALUE OF PLAY
A Message for Youth

From time immemorial the nations and races which have been fit to assume leadership in the world were those whose people knew how to excel in athletic sports and had not forgotten how to play—and how to play hard. The great civilizations—those which have left a profound effect upon the development of mankind, those which have contributed not only to exploration, to the extension of orderly government, to supremacy of arms but even in greater measure to the thought and philosophy of the world have been the nations that developed athletic sports—who have known how to play. There was Greece, famous for the original Olympic games; there was Rome, that for centuries kept alive the customs of athletic competition in her arenas; there is the United Kingdom, great extender of enlightenment to far corners of the earth. Japan, leader in the Orient, built her power and her alertness by a tradition of training in competitive games such as wrestling and sword play. And, thank God, there is America, the stronghold of liberty and the square deal, which still can take the honors in the world's competitions in healthy sports.

I believe that play, not mere entertainment, not reading com

-102-

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