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Quotes

One great reason why many children abandon themselves wholly to silly sports and trifle away all their time insipidly is because they have found their curiosity baulked and their inquiries neglected.

—John Locke, 1693

Though the boys throw stones at frogs in sport, yet the frogs do not die in sport but in earnest.

—Bion of Smyrna, c. 100 BC

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.

—George Orwell, 1945

Gambling is the child of avarice, the brother of iniquity, and the father of mischief.

—George Washington, 1783

If I played in New York, they’d name a candy bar after me.

—Reggie Jackson, 1976

A passion for horses, players, and gladiators seems to be the epidemic folly of the times. The child receives it in his mother’s womb; he brings it with him into the world, and in a mind so possessed, what room for science, or any generous purpose?

—Tacitus, c. 100

A win always seems shallow: it is the loss that is so profound and suggests nasty infinities.

—E.M. Forster, 1919

Play, wherein persons of condition, especially ladies, waste so much of their time, is a plain instance to me that men cannot be perfectly idle; they must be doing something, for how else could they sit so many hours toiling at that which generally gives more vexation than delight to people whilst they are actually engaged in it?

—John Locke, 1693

Hunting is all that’s worth living for—all time is lost what is not spent in hunting—it is like the air we breathe—if we have it not we die—it’s the sport of kings, the image of war without its guilt.

—Robert Smith Surtees, 1843

The fascination of shooting as a sport depends almost wholly on whether you are at the right or wrong end of a gun.

—P.G. Wodehouse, 1929

We cannot say what the woman might be physically, if the girl were not allowed all the freedom of the boy in romping, climbing, swimming, playing whoop and ball.

—Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1848

If I lose at play, I blaspheme, and if my fellow loses, he blasphemes. So that God is always sure to be the loser.

—John Donne, 1623

The gods play games with men as balls.

—Plautus, c. 200 BC