Magazine July 12, 2021, Issue

The Tug of Peace

Palestinian children play tug-of-war during a summer camp organised by Hamas in Gaza City. (Suhaib Salem/Reuters)

Underemployed educators have recently suggested that school games breed the urge for conflict. But school games, which of course are conflict, have been observed, by any who cared to watch, to divert excess energy into outlets not merely nondestructive but creative: physical health, the formation of team spirit, an appreciation of excellence, and so on. These school lessons survive past all remembrance of literature, European history, and other mixtures of fact and opinion.

The current fashionable “reconsideration” of school sports is not an attempt to cure a problem but to cure a solution. An examination of this misguided jollity may yield

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