I couldn't squeeze this into my previous entry about reading Talking Out Loud this afternoon. This needed to be here, in its own space, a part of Quindlen's column from July 8, 1992 about the United States Olympic men's basketball team, especially because of her stated equivalent:
"Somewhere in the contract of the male columnist it is written that once a year he must wax poetic and philosophic about baseball, making it sound like a cross between the Kirov and Zen Buddhism. This covers the baseball profundity axis more than adequately, which is a good thing. The connection between a base hit and karma eludes me.
But basketball is something different, sweatier and swifter and not likely to be likened to haiku, thank God. And this Olympic basketball team is something different entirely. It is the best sports team ever, the equivalent of rounding up the greatest American writers of the last century or so and watching them collaborate: "O.K., Twain, you do the dialogue and hand off to Faulkner. He'll do the interior monologue. Hemingway will edit--no, don't make that face, you know you overwrite. And be nice to Cheever. He's young, but he's got a good ear. Wharton and Cather can't play--they're girls." On television they were running down the lineup: Larry Bird. Patrick Ewing. Michael Jordan. Magic Johnson. When they got to Christian Laettner, the student prince of college basketball, I almost felt sorry for the guy because he was so outclasses, a mere champion among giants. We don't see giants often, even one at a time, never mind en masse and in skivvies."
Amen, Reverend Quindlen!