How about joining us for a cup of calm?

Pure sport. A contradiction in terms? Or just an increasingly rare commodity these days? I've known pure sport. In Africa, where children play with a football made of twine wrapped around plastic bags, deftly dribbling, passing, laughing across a dusty field. In a noisy gym in Augusta, Maine, in the dead of winter, where kids on two small-town basketball teams play their hearts out in a state tournament. And in my own days of Little League baseball, intramural football in college, and hard-fought racquetball games with friends. As utterly compromised as professional sports have become by huge television contracts, inflated salaries, and egos on display, there are also moments of pure sport in almost every event.

But like purity in government and water, pure sport is too often honored in the breach. You don't have to be a sports fan to care deeply about what's become the most coruptive imposition on sport at all levels—violence.

February 11, 2002

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