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Sporting life

Sport tends to privilege offence—but a better appreciation of the virtues of defence would benefit us all. Plus, stop jeering at Walcott

By David Goldblatt   November 2009

THE BEST OFFENCE IS A GREAT DEFENCE

Sporting cultures tend to privilege offence over defence. We prefer sport when it is attacking, scoring and making something happen. In football, strikers command higher salaries than defenders and while you might hear the crowd at Liverpool chanting, “attack, attack, attack,” you won’t hear the reverse. In the US, televised highlights of basketball will always favour a mediocre slam-dunk over a great rebound. And Twenty20 cricket is just the most recent reformatting of a game that has tried to shift the emphasis to scoring. The North American national hockey league, for example, introduced…

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