The “Greatest of All-Time.” North American sports media is inundated with the expression. When an acknowledged superstar, a generational talent, plays in a game, that broadcast will be filled with affirmations of all-time greatness – “So-and-so is the greatest quarterback of all-time” or “Such-and-such is the greatest NBA player of all-time.”
The Greatest of All-Time: We say it, hear it, read it constantly and continuously — but what does it mean?
“The idol of today pushes the hero of yesterday out of our recollection and will, in turn, be supplanted by his successor of tomorrow,” Washington Irving once said. In Truly the GOATs, we seek to bring back the recollection of Irving’s quote, to remember those who enthralled spectators with wondrous feats of athleticism in their day – whether ancient, medieval, modern or post-modern. We’ll also recall the cultures that produced the games in which truly unique athletes and their sports that may have become moribund, evolved beyond recognition or simply disappeared altogether.
From Europe to Asia, from Polynesia to Mesoamerica, humankind has played organized or semi-organized sport for at very least 4,000 years. The games may be straightforward, as in throwing the discus or the 100-meter dash; they may be symbolic, as in the ball game of the Aztecs and Maya; or they may be utterly abstract, as in cricket or chinlone.
On Truly the GOATs, we’ll travel through time and space, from the football pitches of South America to the ball courts of Mesoamerica. We’ll see Spain in the 15th century and return for the late 20th. We’ll go from 40 miles per hour in Rome to 375 kph in Germany. We’ll visit Canada and Japan, we’ll barnstorm America, we’ll sail the Atlantic.
And if you don’t look too closely, you’ll certainly see a lot of commonality within humanity. Whenever and wherever you go, you’re certain to find fascination with the proverbial thrill of victory, agony of defeat – and tales of the greatest athletes of all-time.
Download and subscribe to Truly the GOATs at Podbean or wherever you get your podcasts. It’s sports history with a sense of perspective…