A great play is a revelation Print
By Michael Novak   
Friday, 16 May 2014

Athletic achievement, like the achievements of the heroes and gods of Greece, is the momentary attainment of perfect form – as though there were, hidden away from mortal eyes, a perfect way to execute a play, and suddenly a player or a team has found it and sneaked a demonstration down to earth. A great play is a revelation. The curtains of ordinary life part, and perfection flashes for an instant before the eye. . . .
To keep cool, to handle hundreds of details and call exactly the plays that work, to fight one’s way through opposition to do what one wills to do, against odds, against probabilities – these are to practice a very high art, to achieve a few moments of beauty that will delight the memory of those who watched, or listened, or read, for all their lives. What we mean by “[sports] legend” is what we mean by “art”: the reaching of a form, a perfection, which ordinarily the flesh masks, a form eternal in its beauty. It is as though muscle and nerves and spirit and comrades were working together as flawlessly as God once imagined human beings might. – from The Joy of Sports 


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