I always turn to the sports section first. The sports page records people's accomplishments; the front page has nothing but man's failures.
Every sport pretends to a literature, but people don't believe it of any other sport but their own.
If only Hitler and Mussolini could have a good game of bowls once a week at Geneva, I feel that Europe would not be as troubled as it is.
The difference between the old ballplayer and the new ballplayer is the jersey. The old ballplayer cared about the name on the front. The new ballplayer cares about the name on the back.
Sports is human life in microcosm.
Thus so wretched is man that he would weary even without any cause for weariness... and so frivolous is he that, though full of a thousand reasons for weariness, the least thing, such as playing billiards or hitting a ball, is sufficient enough to amuse him.
The fewer rules a coach has, the fewer rules there are for players to break.
I don't believe professional athletes should be role models. I believe parents should be role models.... It's not like it was when I was growing up. My mom and my grandmother told me how it was going to be. If I didn't like it, they said, "Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out." Parents have to take better control.
I think my favorite sport in the Olympics is the one in which you make your way through the snow, you stop, you shoot a gun, and then you continue on. In most of the world, it is known as the biathlon, except in New York City, where it is known as winter.
~Michael Ventre, L.A. Daily News
We didn't lose the game; we just ran out of time.
The trouble with referees is that they just don't care which side wins.
When we played, World Series checks meant something. Now all they do is screw up your taxes.
~Don Drysdale, 1978
With the money I'm making, I should be playing two positions.
~Pete Rose, 1977
Men forget everything; women remember everything. That's why men need instant replays in sports. They've already forgotten what happened.
Andre Dawson has a bruised knee and is listed as day-to-day. Aren't we all?
I don't know. I never smoked AstroTurf.
~Tug McGraw, when asked if he preferred grass or AstroTurf, April 1974
To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other.
Prize fighters can sometimes read and write when they start - but they can't when they finish.
~Martin H. Fischer
October is not only a beautiful month but marks the precious yet fleeting overlap of hockey, baseball, basketball, and football.
I would have thought that the knowledge that you are going to be leapt upon by half-a-dozen congratulatory, but sweaty team-mates would be inducement not to score a goal.
A player who conjugates a verb in the first person singular cannot be part of the squad, he has to conjugate the verb in the first person plural. We. We want to conquer. We are going to conquer. Using the word "I" when you're in a group makes things complicated.
~Wanderley Luxemburgo, 1999
One day of practice is like one day of clean living. It doesn't do you any good.
The more you sweat in practice, the less you bleed in battle.
I wanted to have a career in sports when I was young, but I had to give it up. I'm only six feet tall, so I couldn't play basketball. I'm only 190 pounds, so I couldn't play football. And I have 20-20 vision, so I couldn't be a referee.
To think of playing cricket for hard cash! Money and gentility would ruin any pastime under the sun.
~Mary Russell Mitford, 1823
It is all very well to say that a man should play for the pure love of the game. Perhaps he ought, but to the working man it is impossible.
I know we're meant to be these hard-headed, money-obsessed professionals but we're still little boys at heart. Just ask our wives.
~Rob Lee, 1998
Radio football is football reduced to its lowest common denominator. Shorn of the game's aesthetic pleasures, or the comfort of a crowd that feels the same way as you, or the sense of security that you get when you see that your defenders and goalkeeper are more or less where they should be, all that is left is naked fear.
~Nick Hornby, Fever Pitch, 1992
Playing polo is like trying to play golf during an earthquake.
~Sylvester Stallone, 1990
Professional wrestling's most mysterious hold is on its audience.
~Luke Neely, 1953
As a manager, you always have a gun to your head. It's a question of whether there is a bullet in the barrel.
~Kevin Keegan, 1995
The breakfast of champions is not cereal, it's the opposition.
We are inclined that if we watch a football game or baseball game, we have taken part in it.
~John F. Kennedy, 1961
Most people are in a factory from nine till five. Their job may be to turn out 263 little circles. At the end of the week they're three short and somebody has a go at them. On Saturday afternoons they deserve something to go and shout about.
~Rodney Marsh, 1969
I don't think the discus will ever attract any interest until they let us start throwing them at one another.
The umpire... is like the geyser in the bathroom; we cannot do without it, yet we notice it only when it is out of order.
Most games are lost, not won.
It is a noteworthy fact that kicking and beating have played so considerable a part in the habits which necessity has imposed on mankind in past ages that the only way of preventing civilized men from beating and kicking their wives is to organize games in which they can kick and beat balls.
~George Bernard Shaw
It is impossible to imagine Goethe or Beethoven being good at billiards or golf.
The more I practice, the luckier I get.
~Jerry Barber, about golf
Baseball and football are very different games. In a way, both of them are easy. Football is easy if you're crazy as hell. Baseball is easy if you've got patience. They'd both be easier for me if I were a little more crazy - and a little more patient.
There isn't a single professional sports season now that doesn't go on at least a month too long. Baseball starts in football weather, and football in baseball weather, and basketball overlaps them both.
Sport is where an entire life can be compressed into a few hours, where the emotions of a lifetime can be felt on an acre or two of ground, where a person can suffer and die and rise again on six miles of trails through a New York City park. Sport is a theater where sinner can turn saint and a common man become an uncommon hero, where the past and the future can fuse with the present. Sport is singularly able to give us peak experiences where we feel completely one with the world and transcend all conflicts as we finally become our own potential.
~George A. Sheehan
I figure practice puts your brains in your muscles.
~Sam Snead, about golf
There's nothing wrong with the Little League World Series that locking out the adults couldn't cure.
~Mike Penner, Los Angeles Times
If you make every game a life-and-death thing, you're going to have problems. You'll be dead a lot.
I watched the Indy 500, and I was thinking that if they left earlier they wouldn't have to go so fast.
Winning is overrated. The only time it is really important is in surgery and war.
I think you enjoy the game more if you don't know the rules. Anyway you're on the same wavelength as the referees.
~Jonathan Davies, 1995
If the Bible has taught us nothing else, and it hasn't, it's that girls should stick to girls' sports, such as hot oil wrestling, foxy boxing, and such and such.
~Homer Simpson, The Simpsons
If a tie is like kissing your sister, losing is like kissing your grandmother with her teeth out.
~George Brett, 1986
Losing is the great American sin.
The essence of sports is that while you're doing it, nothing else matters, but after you stop, there is a place, generally not very important, where you would put it.
If winning isn't everything, why do they keep score?
An athlete cannot run with money in his pockets. He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head.
It's like going into a nuclear war with bows and arrows.
~Joe Kinnear, comparing finances and resources in high-dollar and low-dollar sports teams
I thought lacrosse was what you find in la church.
~Robin Williams, 1982
Officials are the only guys who can rob you and then get a police escort out of the stadium.
If you screw things up in tennis, it's 15-love. If you screw up in boxing, it's your ass.
~Randall "Tex" Cobb
I was called "Rembrandt" Hope in my boxing days, because I spent so much time on the canvas.
To dope the racer is as criminal, as sacrilegious, as trying to imitate God; it is stealing from God the privilege of the spark.
Losing streaks are funny. If you lose at the beginning, you get off to a bad start. If you lose in the middle of the season, you're in a slump. If you lose at the end, you're choking.
He has turned defensive boxing into a poetic art. Trouble is, nobody ever knocked anybody out with a poem.
~Eddie Shaw, referring to Herol "Bomber" Graham
It may be that all games are silly. But then, so are humans.
In play there are two pleasures for your choosing -The one is winning, and the other losing.
People understand contests. You take a bunch of kids throwing rocks at random and people look askance, but if you go and hold a rock-throwing contest - people understand that.
All sports are games of inches.
Sport strips away personality, letting the white bone of character shine through. Sport gives players an opportunity to know and test themselves.
~Rita Mae Brown
When it comes to sports I am not particularly interested. Generally speaking, I look upon them as dangerous and tiring activities performed by people with whom I share nothing except the right to trial by jury.
I cannot for the life of me see why the umpires, the only two people on a cricket field who are not going to get grass stains on their knees, are the only two people allowed to wear dark trousers.
Many continentals think life is a game; the English think cricket is a game.
~George Mikes, How to Be an Alien, 1946
Cricket - a game which the English, not being a spiritual people, have invented in order to give themselves some conception of eternity.
Oh God, if there be cricket in heaven, let there also be rain.
~Alec Douglas Home
Cricket is baseball on valium.
Life is simply a cricket match, with temptation as the bowler.
If horses can't eat it, I won't play on it.
Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory lasts forever.
~Vince McKewin, from the movie The Replacements
Pain is nothing compared to what it feels like to quit.
Losers quit when they're tired. Winners quit when they've won.
You're playing worse every day and right now you're playing like the middle of next week.
The ball is man's most disastrous invention, not excluding the wheel.
~Robert Morley, 1965
Every day you guys look worse and worse. And today you played like tomorrow.
The Russians have a weapon that can wipe out two hundred eighty thousand Americans. That puts them exactly ten years behind Howard Cosell.
Motor racing's less of a sport these days than a commercial break doing 150 mph.
~Peter Dunne, 1992
Sport is a preserver of health.
It is not how big you are, it's how big you play.
A tough day at the office is even tougher when your office contains spectator seating.
The key is not the "will to win" - everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.
You have to be able to center yourself, to let all of your emotions go. Don't ever forget that you play with your soul as well as your body.
All a manager has to do is keep eleven players happy - the eleven in the reserves. The first team are happy because they are in the first team.
~Rodney Marsh, 1979
Unlike any other business in the United States, sports must preserve an illusion of perfect innocence. The mounting of this illusion defines the purpose and accounts for the immense wealth of American sports. It is the ceremony of innocence that the fans pay to see - not the game or the match or the bout, but the ritual portrayal of a world in which time stops and all hope remains plausible, in which everybody present can recover the blameless expectations of a child, where the forces of light always triumph over the powers of darkness.
~Lewis H. Lapham, Money and Class in America, 1988
[T]he finish line is sometimes merely the symbol of victory. All sorts of personal triumphs take place before that point, and the outcome of the race may actually be decided long before the end.
It's not whether you win or lose - but whether I win or lose.
There's more to boxing than hitting. There's not getting hit, for instance.
I'm fanatical about sport: there seems to me something almost religious about the fact that human beings can organise play, the spirit of play.
~Simon Gray, 1995
Squash is boxing with racquets.
Crystallizing my feelings about the game, I find that squash is less frustrating than golf, less fickle than tennis. It is easier than badminton, cheaper than polo. It is better exercise than bowls, quicker than cricket, less boring than jogging, drier than swimming, safer than hang gliding.
~John Hopkins, Squash: A Joyful Game, 1980
My only feeling about superstition is that it's unlucky to be behind at the end of the game.
If I lose at play, I blaspheme; if my fellow loses, he blasphemes. So, God is always the loser.
~John Donne, 1623
American professional athletes are bilingual; they speak English and profanity.
~Gordie Howe, 1975
We have forty-four defenses for him, but he has forty-five ways to score.
~Al Attles, on Nate Archibald
Winning isn't overrated - it's your acceptance of being rated.
Sports are too much with us. Late and soon, sitting and watching - mostly watching on television - we lay waste our powers of identification and enthusiasm and, in time, attention as more and more closing rallies and crucial putts and late field goals and final playoffs and sudden deaths and world records and world championships unreel themselves ceaselessly before our half-lidded eyes.
Fans are the only ones who really care. There are no free-agent fans.
When cerebral processes enter into sports, you start screwing up. It's like the Constitution, which says separate church and state. You have to separate mind and body.
These are my new shoes. They're good shoes. They won't make you rich like me, they won't make you rebound like me, they definitely won't make you handsome like me. They'll only make you have shoes like me. That's it.
~From a Charles Barkley commercial for basketball shoes, 1993
Just give me 25 guys on the last year of their contracts; I'll win a pennant every year.
Finish last in your league and they call you Idiot. Finish last in medical school and they call you Doctor.
I will not permit thirty men to travel four hundred miles to agitate a bag of wind.
~Andrew Dickson White
Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words, it is war minus the shooting... there are quite enough real causes of trouble already, and we need not add to them by encouraging young men to kick each other on the shins amid the roars of infuriated spectators.
We can't win at home and we can't win on the road. My problem as general manager is I can't think of another place to play.