chapter  46
2 Pages

Vita Sackville-West, ‘The English man is seen at his best the moment that another man starts throwing a ball at him’ From The Character of England (1947)

Sport-it is not only that the young gentleman from Eton and the son of the village blacksmith meet on equal terms on the village cricket ground and in the hunting-field, the one on his father’s hunter, the other on a tubby pony, each to be judged entirely on his own merits of pluck and performance: but that in this very dominant aspect of English life certain fundamental traits of the English character become floodlit. It is a great bond, to have such standards in common: a sort of cement, welding at least one section of our queer ramshackle nation together. Let us admit that; but at the same time let us examine with impartiality, for better or worse, with approbation or condemnation, or with a mixture of both (which is the more civilised estimate to adopt), the effect of the sportobsession on its votaries.