But that love for baseball didn’t mean that we organized our lives around the sport, or that any parent with a Little Leaguer had baseball scholarships in mind. It didn’t enter into the picture. A child’s life was not packaged up and dressed for ambition. That meant, too, that the fans did not take things too seriously.
We speak to connect with ideas and with the Divine. Of all the speeches I have heard in-person and not in a movie, or play, recording, or manuscript, a few have reached the pinnacle of being inspirational.
Venus’s love for her sister, and Serena’s recognition of it, has also shown us the transcendent power of family, the possibility of forgetting the accolades and the worldly recognition and the desire for advantage and finding instead deeper connections and possibilities of love.
More to the purpose of this essay, organized youth sports should challenge students to be dissatisfied with amusement or entertainment in their pursuit of excellence. Our culture is soaked in entertainment, the preponderance being of a low quality. While it can be entertaining, sports also offers an education.
But the dark events of that afternoon have remained with me and have prompted a question that I have often wrestled with, fruitfully, I think, but never to a clear decision: Lacking a proper foundation in kickball, what sort of culture, if any at all, could flourish in a Newton, Massachusetts?
Feeney’s book is a helpful antidote to the “go to college at any cost” mindset. But more importantly, it examines how this mindset can corrupt the forms of association that allow our communities to thrive and the humans within those communities to flourish.
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