“The great fallacy is that the game is first and last about winning. It’s nothing of the kind. The game is about glory. It is about doing things in style, with a flourish, about going out to beat the other lot, not waiting for them to die of boredom.”
In this quote Danny Blanchflower, captain of the ground breaking Tottenham Hotspur team of the 1960s, encapsulates everything that makes sport worth watching. The pursuit of glory is what thrills us about sport– it is one of the few constants that can be found at all levels of sport; the potential for glory is always there.
In this blog I want to celebrate this fundamental aspect of sport, which many would argue is being increasingly marginalised by the pressures of money. However, without those who innovate, intrigue and excite in order to win games sport is no longer watchable or entertaining. Following this year’s football world cup in South Africa kids in parks across the world are trying to emulate Tshabalala’s stunning opening goal, not Paraguay’s defensive discipline. We watch sport to be excited by brilliance or absorbing competition – not to see negative tactics which provide results.
As Earl Warren claimed in the quote I used to introduce this blog, “the sports page records accomplishment; the front page man’s failures.” Even when focussing on failure, the nature of sporting competition necessitates success somewhere. The numerous articles bemoaning England’s depressingly useless performance in the last 16 of the World Cup have as an undercurrent the story of the inspirational success of a youthful and exhilarating German team. Achievement and glory are never far away in any element of sport.
The universal popularity of sport at all levels in every society is inextricaly linkd to the idea of glory. The greats of sporting competition, whose achievements and style will always be remembered, are fundamentally inspired by glory – being the best in a manner which elevates their achievements to more than the list of medals they won or the amount of money they earned. The game is about glory.