At times during Frank Deford‘s January Series talk, it felt a little like he didn’t believe people like me exist. A sports writer, occasionally he’d pass reference to women who didn’t like sports, but I kept getting the feeling non-sportsfan men were an alien concept to him. But lest that sound too negative, the talk was probably one of the most entertaining to date. His gentle storytelling style, mostly stream-of-consciousness made a subject I normally can’t muster the interest to follow quite fascinating.
There was one note on which I differed from Deford, and that was his contention that the US has managed better than any other country to balance its praise for the individual and for ‘the team.’ In the world of sports, he may well be right, but to many outsiders (and a fair few on the inside, it seems) this country appears highly individualised.
From the cars that get bigger and bigger, keeping people further and further from the environment they’re travelling through, to the strong focus on ‘private morality’ and tax cuts that seem to have landed a certain international villain back on Philadelphia Avenue, and on to the rejection of the international community that has occurred over the past four years, there are many signs that make it hard for me to take seriously the contention that this is a good balance.