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

Two things only the people anxiously desire, bread and the circus games.

—Juvenal, c. 121

Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world: it gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel. The picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.

—Susan B. Anthony, 1896

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

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

The sadness of the end of a career of an older athlete, with the betrayal of his body, is mirrored in the rest of us. Consciously or not, we know: there, soon, go I.

—Ira Berkow, 1987

These useless men ought to be cut up and served at a banquet. I really believe that athletes have less intelligence than swine.

—Dion Chrysostom, c. 95

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

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

—George Washington, 1783

The gods play games with men as balls.

—Plautus, c. 200 BC

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

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

—Reggie Jackson, 1976

A brilliant boxing match, quicksilver in its motions, transpiring far more rapidly than the mind can absorb, can have the power that Emily Dickinson attributed to great poetry: you know it’s great when it takes the top of your head off.

—Joyce Carol Oates, 1987

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

I do love cricket—it’s so very English.I do love cricket—it’s so very English.

—Sarah Bernhardt, c. 1908

No human being is innocent, but there is a class of innocent human actions called games.

—W.H. Auden, 1962

I never yet could make out why men are so fond of hunting; they often hurt themselves, often spoil good horses, and tear up the fields—and all for a hare or a fox or a stag that they could get more easily some other way.

—Anna Sewell, 1877

The true mission of American sports is to prepare young men for war.

—Dwight D. Eisenhower, c. 1952

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

—E.M. Forster, 1919

Football causeth fighting, brawling, contention, quarrel picking, murder, homicide and great effusion of bloode, as daily experience teacheth.

—Philip Stubbes, 1583

Recreations should be as sauces to your meat, to sharpen your appetite unto the duties of your calling, and not to glut yourselves with them.

—Thomas Gouge, 1672

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

The whole secret of fencing consists but in two things, to give and not to receive.

—Molière, 1670

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

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

Academe, n. An ancient school where morality and philosophy were taught.

Academy, n. (from academe) A modern school where football is taught.

—Ambrose Bierce, 1906

Courage and grace is a formidable mixture. The only place to see it is in the bullring.

—Marlene Dietrich, 1962