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Sports

  • There can be no etiquette prescribed for the players in a football game beyond that incorporated in the rules of the game and in the general laws of good sportsmanship. But the people who are watching the game must observe a certain good conduct, if they wish to be considered entirely cultured. For instance, even though the game becomes very exciting, it is bad form to stand up on the seats and shout words of encouragement to the players. Yet how many, who claim to be entirely well-bred, do this very thing!

  • Men who have a thirty-six-televised-football-games-a-week habit should be declared legally dead and their estates probated.

  • It is difficult to single out one sport over another, but if I have to name one in my separation suit, it will undoubtedly be football.

    • Erma Bombeck,
    • in Erma Bombeck and Bil Keane, Just Wait Til You Have Children of Your Own ()
  • I hated skiing or any other sport where there was an ambulance waiting at the bottom of the hill.

  • Surfing is like that. You are either vigorously cursing or else you are idiotically pleased with yourself.

  • Skiing is difficult and none of my business.

  • Life, after we'd had a few millennia to observe it, turned out to be dreadfully unfair, so we invented sports.

  • Coaches and headmasters praise sport as a preparation for the great game of life, but this is absurd. Nothing could be more different from life. For one thing sports, unlike life, are played according to rules. Indeed, the rules are the sport: life may behave bizarrely and still be life, but if the runner circles the bases clockwise it's no longer baseball.

  • Giving your body a chance to exult, however you choose to do it, is the essence of sport.

  • When life gets tangled there's something so reassuring about climbing a mountain. The challenge is unambiguous.

  • ... that's exactly what climbing is to me. ... Expression. What a painter does on a canvas, what a writer can do with the twenty-six letters in the alphabet. It's the key that unlocks my spirit, the clearest representation of who I am. When I'm focused, climbing is almost an unconscious act for me. I don't have to drive myself, I'm already driven.

  • Sport strips away personality, letting the white bone of character shine through. Sport gives players an opportunity to know and test themselves. The great difference between sport and art is that sport, like a sonnet, forces beauty within its own system. Art, on the other hand, cyclically destroys boundaries and breaks free.

  • ... you'd definitely think of me more as a good sport than as an athlete.

  • Skiing is the next best thing to having wings.

    • Oprah Winfrey,
    • in Nellie Bly, Oprah: Up Close and Down Home ()
  • ... anybody can win with the best horse. What makes you good is if you can take the second- or third-best horse and win.

    • Vicky Aragon,
    • in Thomas Meagher, The Gigantic Book of Horse Wisdom ()
  • To surrender one's vulnerable body to water has always seemed to me a limpid act of will that has no counterpart or equal, unless it is sex.

  • Nothing is more democratic, less judgmental, than water. Water doesn't care whether flesh is withered or fresh; it caresses aged flesh and firm flesh with equal love.

  • Baseball is what we were. Football is what we have become.

  • The football season is like pain. You forget how terrible it is until it seizes you again.

  • Off the packed trail we experience the miracle of corn snow, skiing atop the crust, like skiing on an eggshell that has been sprinkled with sugar.

    • Susan Minot,
    • "Skiing in Austria's Arlberg," in The New York Times ()
  • Why are the umpires, the only two people on the field who aren't going to get grass stains on their knees, the only ones allowed to wear dark trousers?

  • Baseball has a special place in our hearts. It is the game that shows us as we would like to be.

  • Après ski is my favorite sport.

  • Baseball lasts as long as it takes. Like life, like love, baseball exists in real time.

    • Carol Tavris,
    • "Why I Love Baseball," in Elinor Nauen, ed., Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend ()
  • A fan without a team is like a hog without truffles — she has nothing to root for.

    • Carol Tavris,
    • "Why I Love Baseball," in Elinor Nauen, ed., Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend ()
  • Watching a ball game is one of the sweetest pleasures in the world.

  • He played the game, thinking of nothing else. Understood the style and rhythm of all in the incidental movements. The others were different. They had learned their tennis; could remember a time when they did not play. Playing did not take them back to the beginning of life. Was not pure joy to them.

  • I'm not sure what it means, but whenever the ball is not in play, somebody grabs his crotch.

    • Paula Bouton,
    • in Bob Chieger, Was It Good for You, Too? ()
  • It's about / the ball, / the bat, / the mitt, / the bases / and the fans. / It's done / on a diamond, / and for fun. / It's about / home, and it's about run.

    • May Swenson,
    • "Analysis of Baseball," More Poems to Solve ()
  • I oiled my glove yesterday. / Half the season is over. / When will I be ready?

    • Lynn Rigney Schott,
    • "Spring Training," in Elinor Nauen, ed., Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend ()
  • Football: A religious ritual in which men fall upon each other in funny suits.

  • ... that crack of the bat against a ball has been my mantra, a sound I hear in desperate moments, at times when I crave total satisfaction, a sound I hear over and over when I want something very badly but can't express what it is.

    • Lucy Jane Bledsoe,
    • "State of Grace," in Naomi Holoch and Joan Nestle, eds., Women on Women 2 ()
  • Boxing is an American sport — a 'so-called sport' to many — in which images of incalculable beauty and violence, desperation and ingenuity, are routinely entwined; the sport that evokes the most extreme reactions — loathing, revulsion, righteous indigation; a fierce and often inexplicable loyalty.

    • Joyce Carol Oates,
    • "Five Prefaces," (Woman) Writer: Occasions and Opportunities ()
  • The 'third man in the ring' ... makes boxing possible.

  • There are boxers possessed of such remarkable intuition, such uncanny prescience, one would think they were somehow recalling their fights, not fighting them as we watch.

  • Boxing is a celebration of the lost religion of masculinity, all the more trenchant for its being lost.

  • [When asked if there was anything she didn't play:] Yeah, dolls.

  • Sports, like the arts, are exclusive. Millions never engage in them, because they believe they will never 'measure up.'

  • Man blames fate for other accidents but feels personally responsible for a hole in one.

  • The only good reason for swimming, so far as I can see, is to escape drowning.

  • [On having one of her slower running times in her late 80s:] You lose a lot of speed between 80 and 86.

  • It's even harder to stay at the top in sports than it is to get there.

  • Anyone who says that softball is a boring game to watch isn't looking at the right things.

  • [On softball:] Diamonds are a dyke's best friend.

  • Sports were central to American students' lives and school cultures in a way in which they were not in most education superpowers. ... In most U.S. high schools, however, only a minority of students actually played sports. So they weren't getting the exercise, and the U.S. obesity rates reflected as much. And those valuable life lessons, the ones about leadership and persistence, could be taught through rigorous academic work, too, in ways that were more applicable to the real world. ... The lesson wasn't that sports couldn't coexist with education; it was that sports had nothing to do with education.

  • Your opponent, in the end, is never really the player on the other side of the net, or the swimmer in the next lane, or the team on the other side of the field, or even the bar you must high-jump. Your opponent is yourself, your negative internal voices, your level of determination.

    • Grace Lichtenstein,
    • "Competition in Women's Athletics," in Valerie Miner and Helen E. Longino, eds., Competition ()
  • Power-lifting as a competitive sport is about as interesting for spectators as watching cows chew their cud.

  • Women who have had the regular experience of performing before others, of learning to win and lose, of cooperating in team efforts, will be far less fearful of running for office, better able to take public positions on issues in the face of public opposition.

  • [When asked how someone 6'3" had dared take up golf:] I was too tall to make the chess team in my high school, so I tried golf.

    • Carol Mann,
    • in Janice Kaplan, Women and Sports ()
  • [When asked how tall she is:] I'm five feet, 15 inches.

  • The real adherent of the sporting ethic knows that when he's wet, cold, hungry, sore, exhausted, and perhaps a little frightened, he's having a marvelous time ...

  • ... the sum total of women's athletic scholarships for the entire nation in 1972 [the year Title IX was enacted] was $100,000.

  • The one nice thing about sports is that they prove men do have emotions and are not afraid to show them.

  • It's time to raise a generation of participants, not another generation of fans.

  • Men sometimes seem more ready to accept women as brain surgeons than as athletes.

  • Like many young women, I grew up believing that (1) physical ability wasn't very important, and (2) I didn't have any.

  • It's just amazing to see how people now perceive us as athletes and realize that it's okay for us to bleed, it's okay for us to sweat and to cry and to be angry and to be frustrated and to show aggression and still be considered as females when we walk off the field or walk off the surface.

    • Lisa Fernandez,
    • "Women and Sports at the Crossroads," Outside the Lines ()
  • In the field of sports you are more-or-less accepted for what you do rather than what you are.

  • In sports, you simply aren't considered a real champion until you have defended your title successfully. Winning it once can be a fluke; winning it twice proves that you are the best.

    • Althea Gibson,
    • in Ed Fitzgerald, ed., I Always Wanted to Be Somebody ()
  • The athlete is not the one who decides whether or not they're a role model. It's the young kid out there who's watching you, and you respect that responsibility.

  • To be a good sportsman, one must be a stoic and never show rancor in defeat, or triumph in victory, or irritation, no matter what annoyance is encountered. One who can not help sulking, or explaining, or protesting when the loser, or exulting when the winner, has no right to take part in games or contests.

  • I stand here before you feeling like I own the earth because of twenty years in a sport. That's what we're fighting for — to make sure that everybody out there, every little girl and every high school girl and every 55-year-old woman ashamed of her fat, could feel like I feel — like she owns the earth.

    • Diana Nyad,
    • 1983, in Louise Bernikow, The American Women's Almanac ()
  • It's really impossible for athletes to grow up. As long as you're playing, no one will let you. On the one hand, you're a child, still playing a game. And everybody around you acts like a kid, too. But on the other hand, you're a superhuman hero that everyone dreams of being. No wonder we have such a hard time understanding who we are.

  • I have often been asked whether I am a woman or an athlete. The question is absurd. Men are not asked that. I am an athlete. I am a woman.

  • I'm amazed by how many people I meet can't wrap their head around what I do. It's not disrespect to me. But it bothers me that they just can't imagine it — a girl who drives monster trucks.

    • Rosalee Ramer,
    • in Justin Berton, "Girl, 16, crushes competition in monster trucks and math," San Francisco Chronicle ()
  • A winner's strongest muscle is her heart.

  • Of all sports, football seems to be the most sanctioned homosocial opportunity for straight men to be with each other, pat butts, struggle, strive, and take showers together. All that talk of tight ends and penetration. The reason there are face masks on those helmets is so that can't kiss each other.

  • Sometimes I think about the danger. It's hard not to when I'm the most powerless thing compared to my surroundings. But I don't want to look back at my life and wonder what it's like to really be alive.

  • [On sports:] It's good to compete, good to run, good to sweat, good to get dirty, good to feel tired and healthy and refreshed.

  • Like families, competitors can bring out the worst as well as the best in each other. Like romance, competition has many faces, some of them ugly. In addition to showing me my grace and graciousness, the mirror of sports has reflected back to me my jealousy, pettiness, and arrogance.

  • ... athletes have taught me most of what I know about love.

  • Bodybuilding is about making oneself seem larger than life. It's about creating the illusion of perfection.

  • In basketball, you need to snatch a rebound as if you own the ball, as if you're starving and it's the last coconut on the tree.

  • Sport has been called the last bastion of male domination. Unfortunately, there are others — Congress, for instance.

  • ... there's something about male sports privilege that contributes to the sexual objectification and abuse of women. Given how pervasive and what cultural icons men's sports are, that's a scary thought.

  • The stronger women get, the more men love football.

  • The act of sport remains a human act, unrelated to gender.

  • Competition can damage self-esteem, create anxiety, and lead to cheating and hurt feelings. But so can romantic love.

  • Think of yourself as an athlete. I guarantee you it will change the way you walk, the way you work, and the decisions you make about leadership, teamwork, and success.

  • ... it's a feeling of ice miles running under your blades, the wind splitting open to let you through, the earth whirling around you at the touch of your toe, and speed lifting you off the ice far from all things that can hold you down.

  • [On what husband Mel Phillips, 49ers defensive back, does in the off-season:] He sits home and watches his bones mend.

  • I don't think being an athlete is unfeminine. I think of it as a kind of grace.

  • It's hard to explain or believe how male-dominated, male-oriented, and generally misogynistic the world of elite sailing is. I've never experienced anything like it.

  • As women win more and more gains in the drive for equality and as the traditional roles begin to blur and fuse, the exclusivity of men's sports seems to become even more entrenched. In fact, in many ways sports seem to be a kind of last bastion of male supremacy.

  • Being a physical person, as a woman, and knowing how to move your body, how to balance, how to run, how to turn, how to be in confrontation whether physical or mental is a very empowering thing. It gives you a tremendous amount of confidence in everything you do.

    • Dawn Riley,
    • in Christina Lessa, Women Who Win: Stories of Triumph in Sport and in Life ()
  • Luck? Sure. But only after long practice and only with the ability to think under pressure.

  • When I was first running marathons, we were sailing on a flat earth. We were afraid we'd get big legs, grow mustaches, not get boyfriends, not be able to have babies. Women thought that something would happen to them, that they'd break down or turn into men, something shadowy, when they were only limited by their own society's sense of limitations.

    • Kathrine Switzer,
    • in Jane Gross, "Women's Old Images Fading Rapidly," The New York Times ()
  • ... finding oneself through sport is a radical, difficult, and joyous step for a woman.

    • Joli Sandoz,
    • in Joli Sandoz, ed., A Whole Other Ball Game: Women's Literature on Women's Sport ()
  • Then out, onto the ice, blades dividing / the surface into geometry, / ice writing from an old language, / the calligraphy of snow.

    • Barbara Crooker,
    • "Skating After School," in Joli Sandoz, ed., A Whole Other Ball Game: Women's Literature on Women's Sport ()
  • Sculling is the closest I'll ever come to being a ballerina, to creating visual music. A good rowing stroke is fluid, circular, continuous. It is unmarred by pauses, hitches, arm yanks, or back heaves.

  • Zen is a stroke without beginning or end. It is a sensation of being completely connected and disconnected in the same moment ... the oars are just extensions of my arms, and my legs seem to grow out of the boat. ... I am a marionette, the boat is part of me, the water is air, the journey the ultimate magic carpet ride. Or maybe I am the boat — its heart, its motor, its spirit. My legs are pistons, I could row forever.

  • It's about learning your craft. That's a wonderful thing — especially with today's consumerism and instant gratification. You can't buy that. It's about making decisions, corrections, choices. I don't think it's so much about becoming a tennis player. It's about becoming a person.


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  • Be a good sport and have a positive attitude. When you walk off the court, no one should be able to tell if you won or lost.

    • ,
    • in Kate T. Parker, Strong Is the New Pretty: A Celebration of Girls Being Themselves ()
  • Most of the men I talk to ... ask me to play one-on-one. If you’ve ever had that impulse, let me stop you here. I’m not going to play you one-on-one. I’m never going to play you one-on-one. I have been playing basketball my entire life, and for just as long I have been challenged by men who think they are better than me.

  • There’s something about basketball that activates men’s egos. It’s almost as if they still consider it a sport that women should not be playing.