[ by Charles Cameron — Triptych, DoubleQuote and Single in sports, with a sermon you should really click through and hear, delivered by the inimitable Alan Bannett of Beyond the fringe ]
The London Review of Books sends me a weekly email, and this week it offered sporting articles that might be of interest. I can’t access all the articles in question, not being a subscriber, but the sort versions offered in the email provide me with this triptych of sporting paragraphs.. on the theme of suffering..
A Broad Grin and a Handstand
by E.S. Turner, 2004
The Paris-Madrid road race of 1903 was a wonderfully disgraceful affair. Three hundred cars set out, conferring death and dismemberment along the dust-choked roads south. Six of the drivers were killed outright and nearly twice as many gravely injured. The hospitals were stuffed with mangled sightseers. By the time the surviving drivers reached Bordeaux the race was called off, and in Madrid the garlanded welcome arches were quietly dismantled. City-to-city road racing was now over. However, the dawn of motoring was still one of those dawns in which it was bliss to be alive.
Everybody gets popped
by David Runciman, 2012
For Tyler Hamilton, as for many of the other leading cyclists, doping did not constitute an unfair advantage. Instead, it was a way of sorting out who was really the toughest. In an extraordinary passage, Hamilton writes that EPO made the sport fairer, because it ‘granted the ability to suffer more; to push yourself farther and harder than you’d ever imagined, in both racing and training’.
Bantu in the Bathroom
by Jacqueline Rose, 2015
The full citation from Corinthians tattooed on Oscar Pistorius’s upper back reads:
‘I do not run like a man running aimlessly;
I do not fight like a man beating the air;
I execute each stride with intent;
I beat my body and make it my slave
I bring it under my complete subjection
To keep myself from being disqualified
After having called others to the contest.’
The line about making my body my slave is not in most translations from Corinthians, nor is subjection described as ‘complete’. Pistorius was raising the stakes. He was also punishing, or even indicting, himself.
So much for the Triptych: now, still with sports in mind, for a Twitter DoubleQuote:
And finally, for a Single, this delightful sports metaphor in religion quote, also from the LRB offering this morning, and worthy of the Alan Bennett sermon (to die for):
6/4 he won’t score 20
by John Sturrock, 2000
In prelapsarian times, it was only ever a short step from the batting crease to the pulpit, as generations of cricketing vicars used the game that they played heartily, if not usually very well, on Saturday afternoon for a neighbourly source of Sunday metaphors with which to earth a sermon and reassure the congregation that the rules by which a good Anglican was urged to live were really no more arduous than those framed by the MCC.