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By Steve James

A century has continuously had a unique resonance, in all walks of existence, and none extra so than in cricket. Scoring 100 runs is the final word for a batsman. As former England captain Andrew Strauss admits, it's enormously challenging to do; for Ricky Ponting, it's a transformational second within the occupation of a cricketer. Or within the phrases of Geoffrey Boycott, 'a century has its personal magic'.

In The paintings of Centuries, Steve James applies his award-winning forensic perception to the very center of batting. via interviews with the best run-scorers in cricket background and his personal studies, Steve discovers what psychological and actual efforts are required to arrive these magical 3 figures. regardless of his personal haul of forty seven top notch plenty, he himself felt from time to time that he was once poorly outfitted for the task.

So figuring out easy methods to rating centuries is an paintings. And bowlers would possibly not agree, yet there particularly is not any greater feeling in cricket.

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On a Platonic and Aristotelian basis, the key question seems to be how exactly to calibrate the proper balance between physical and intellectual training. The personnel involved at a gymnasion included the gymnasiarchos (the leader of the gymnasion), the paidonomos (the leader’s assistant), and paidotribai (physical trainers). These last were considered inferior to those who taught reading and writing, but superior to those who taught military skills, which were not seen as identical to athletic skills.

Very few athletes retire at the top of their game like the football player Jim Brown. More typical is the athlete who “is preparing himself for defeat, and perhaps humiliation. weiss and the pursuit of bodily excellence · 47 His days are numbered, his successes rarely momentous, and his glories short-lived; he works hard and long to prepare himself for what may end in dismal failure. ” (Weiss 1969, 18). This is an interesting question, and Weiss’s outsider response to it is nuanced. Granted, he thinks that athletes endure all of these things in order to be excellent.

The Greeks had no admiration for athletes who failed in other aspects of life or in later life. Miller quotes Pausanias as claiming that those who gloried in their strength alone were doomed to perish (Miller 2004a, chap. 9; Harris 1964, chap. 5; Finley and Pleket 1976, chap. 6). Once again, the goal was kalokagathia: bodily and moral or intellectual excellence. No doubt many ancient Greek athletes fell short of this ideal. It is by no means clear, however, that it is a good thing to abandon the goal altogether, as we will see.

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