“I think all of us are looking for that which does not admit of bullshit . . . If you tell me you can bench press 450, hell, we’ll load up the bar and put you under it. Either you can do it or you can’t do it—you can’t bullshit. Ultimately, sports are just about as close to what one would call the truth as it is possible to get in this world.”
Harry Crews was not delicate in that which he said and felt, but he’s eliminated much of the froth and fluff around sports, which is helpful in our age of bloviating, fantabulation, and hype. He misses some important elements, however, beyond the can or can’t; he misses courage, and resilience, and endurance, and dignity.
What are the greatest moments in sport?
Obvious contenders have to include The Miracle on Ice, Ali’s thrilla in Manilla, Michael Jordan’s playing through illness to win a championship, Jackie Robinson’s stealing home in a world series game against the Yankees, Tiger Woods’ winning a US Open by fifteen strokes, Joe Montana’s and Tom Brady’s comeback drives any of a dozen games thrown by Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Walter Johnson, Bob Feller, Mariano Rivera, Orel Hershiser, Dizzy Dean, Carl Hubbell, Christy Mathewson, Tom Seaver, Bob Gibson, and another five or six dominating pitchers.
Or, Lou Gehrig’s farewell speech, Jim Abbot’s taking the mound with one hand, and throwing a no hitter, the crowd at Fenway helping an autistic young man sing the National Anthem, the Central Washington softball team picking up a Western Oregon player injured rounding first and carrying her home, 4’7″ Kerri Strug landing a perfect dismount with a third degree ankle sprain and damaged tendon.
The Modest Sportsman celebrates the best in sports, cauterizes the worst damage done to the sporting world, and invites discourse and differing opinion.