On Winners and Losers

Photo by Jerry Laizure: Prairie View A&M football players crying after breaking a record 80-game losing streak, defeating Langston State 14-12, Oklahoma City, 1998.

A win always seems shallow; it is the loss that is so profound and suggests nasty infinities.

E.M. Forster, 1919

Photo by Jerry Laizure: Prairie View A&M football players crying after breaking a record 80-game losing streak, defeating Langston State 14-12, Oklahoma City, 1998.

It’s All in the Game

Photo by Ralph Crane: Ski-jumper over Bergisel Stadium, Innsbruck Olympics, Austria, 1964

Play not for gain, but sport. Who plays for more
Than he can lose with pleasure, stakes his heart.

George Herbert, 1633

Play the game for more than you can afford to lose…only then will you learn the game.

Winston Churchill, c. 1947

Photo by Ralph Crane: Ski-jumper over Bergisel Stadium, Innsbruck Olympics, Austria, 1964

On Athletes

Photo by Harold Edgerton: Tennis Player (1938)

Athletes have studied how to leap and how to survive the leap some of the time and return to the ground. They don’t always do it well. But they are our philosophers of actual moments and the body and soul in them – and of our maneuvers in our emergencies and longings.

Harold Brodkey, 1992

Photo by Harold Edgerton: Tennis Player (1938)