21 The Origin of Sports
When did sport begin? If sport is, in essence, play, the claim might be made that sport is much older than humankind, for , as we all have observed, the beasts play. Dogs and cats wrestle and play ball games. Fishes and birds dance. The apes have simple, pleasurable games. Frolicking infants, school children playing tag, and adult arm wrestlers are demonstrating strong, transgenerational and transspecies bonds with the universe of animals – past, present, and future. Young animals, particularly, tumble, chase, run wrestle, mock, imitate, and laugh (or so it seems) to the point of delighted exhaustion. Their play, and ours, appears to serve no other purpose than to give pleasure to the players, and apparently, to remove us temporarily from the anguish of life in earnest.
Some philosophers have claimed that our playfulness is the most noble part of our basic nature. In their generous conceptions, play harmlessly and experimentally permits us to put our creative forces, fantasy, and imagination into action. Play is release from the tedious battles against scarcity and decline which are the incessant, and inevitable, tragedies of life. This is a grand conception that excites and provokes. The holders of this view claim that the origins of our highest accomplishments ---- liturgy, literature, and law ---- can be traced to a play impulse which, paradoxically, we see most purely enjoyed by young beasts and children. Our sports, in this rather happy, nonfatalistic view of human nature, are more splendid creations of the nondatable, transspecies play impulse.
Collectibles have been a part of almost every culture since ancient times. Whereas some objects have been collected for their usefulness, others have been selected for their aesthetic beauty alone. In the United States, the kinds of collectibles currently popular range from traditional objects such as stamps, coins, rare books, and art to more recent items of interest like dolls, bottles, baseball cards, and comic books.
Interest in collectibles has increased enormously during the past decade, in part because some collectibles have demonstrated their value as investments. Especially during cycles of high inflation, investors try to purchase tangibles that will at least retain their current market values. In general, the most traditional collectibles will be sought because they have preserved their value over the years, there is an organized auction market for them, and they are most easily sold in the event that cash is needed. Some examples of the most stable collectibles are old masters, Chinese ceramics, stamps, coins, rare books, antique jewelry, silver, porcelain, art by well-known artists, autographs, and period furniture. Other items of more recent interest include old photograph records, old magazines, post cards, baseball cards, art glass, dolls, classic cars, old bottles, and comic books. These relatively new kinds of collectibles may actually appreciate faster as short-term investments, but may not hold their value as long-term investments. Once a collectible has had its initial play, it appreciates at a fairly steady rate, supported by an increasing number of enthusiastic collectors competing for the limited supply of collectibles that become increasingly more difficult to locate..