Dumbest thing on a sports page

Sports, at virtually any level, requires measurement. Running, even alone, can and usually is timed. Weightlifting, swimming, you name it: if it is a sport, there’s some way to measure it. Measuring is optional if, say, you just go for a leisurely walk or even a jog. But the moment you play a team sport, any sport, there will be a score.

This is an iron law of team sports: there’s not much point in playing if you don’t keep score. It’s as true in T-ball for small children as it is in The Bigs. If you don’t measure performance, you’ll never improve. That’s fine if you’re on your lonesome. But makes zero sense if you play on a team. You may have no interest in how well you are doing, but you are telling your teammates that they are there solely for your amusement, to provide you an opportunity to play ball.

No one who has ever actually played on a team would write what this woman did. Who, for reasons unknown (perhaps she’s a close relative of the publisher?), writes on sports for the WaPo, and has this whopper in today’s edition:

I’m not sure from where our need to quantify and rank everyone and everything right now in sports derives.

Uh, miss, perhaps it’s because everyone keeps score? And in professional sports, perhaps it’s because big money rides on who does better, both individually and as a team?

As for ranking “everyone and everything,” I’d rank this woman’s statement as about the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen on a sports page.


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