“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

David Haye to retire.

At thirty one years of age and with a 23-2 professional record David Haye has decided to hang up his gloves. Haye has been a controversial figure in the sport. This has been partly due to the man's self-confident persona, us Brits like our sporting heroes to be shy and self effacing, but also because of some real misgivings about the genuine quality of Haye as a boxer. On the face of it the Bermondsey fighter had everything going for him. Admittedly small for a heavyweight, he was always a gifted athlete, a talented boxer who was committed to the sport; or at least committed to being successful in it. So why did many of us feel that something was missing? More to the point, why do we always struggle to define that "something" that makes the difference between between being a top athlete and a truly great one? From the time of the Ancient Greeks, through to the modern day world where every gym seems infested with sports science graduates, we have sought to improve our understanding of physical excellence and when it comes to the measurable things such as nutrition, recovery rate and skill development, the project has been a huge success; but we are no closer to defining that hidden "something" than Homer was. Next time you are watching world class cricket you might have a go at pondering what the relationship is between "talent" and "form" - answers on a postcard to the ECB.
We might also ponder what it is that allows professional boxers to climb through the ropes and put their health on the line in the most physically and psychologically demanding of all sports. Haye may not have been the greatest but he was part of a tough and courageous elite who we mere mortals salute. Thank you David.

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