Who speaks rather surly
Of learning to box early.
Then earning the right to a great silver prize
As champ of the world and all that it buys.
But so long did he fight
That his brain’s not alright
And he thinks all the time not of prizes or rhymes
But the pain and the shame
Of what those who fell, felt:
Defeated and battered
Yet oddly still flattered
To lose to the best
Whose brains also shattered in quest
Of some dumb silver belt.
He paused for the laughter and concluded,
Sport is good, ‘long as you’re a good sport.
Just don’t ever choose
One where one has to lose.
You’re the greatest! was shouted from the stands.
He chuckled at that and sat down to thunderous applause.
You’re saying no boxing, no football?
Richard leaned in. “Sir, have you ever boxed professionally?” The man looked irate then shook his head. “Have you played pro football?” The man turned away. “Most of us just watch people play these dangerous sports but the players are seduced by big money to risk their lives. No longer. But about golf. Will the gentleman who asked about it stand up?”
The mild-looking older man stood shyly. You mean you’ll let us keep our courses?
“There are questions first. How many golfers are there here?”
Slowly, almost suspiciously—there must be a catch here---most of the men before him and in the stands raised their hands gladly. ’Good, good. Now, here’s the tough one: how many of you would play golf alone, singly. In other words, I’m asking if you play golf to improve your score, or is it more a social thing? How many would play alone?”
The hands started up then slowly descended, as Richard suspected.
“I’m sorry. No golf courses,” and he waited out the groans and boos. “You see, we need to reduce one of man’s worst addictions—competition. Even though golf is just something to do with friends, you’ll bet on each round, or each hole, right? I’m sorry.”
What about our national pastime, baseball?
Anne rose quickly to soften the debate she saw coming. “We’ll have no spectator sports, as there will be no stadia to show them. And no radio, television or newspapers to keep us anxious and competitive. But the libraries will have most every film made, and most every book published, and tapes of every type of music.”
Ma’am, how are you going to produce fine, hand-made shoes en masse? You’ll have to have factories!