333. Am I a romantic?

Firstly, note the indefinite article, ‘a’. The question is not whether I am romantic, but whether I am a romantic. I miss, with regretful nostalgia, the carefree performances of Paul Morphy, the XIX century American chess master, Pedro Delgado, the 1980s Spanish cycling maverick or JPR Williams, the beer guzzling, smoking, fearless and vertiginously sideburned Welsh rugby great. They all practiced their discipline not as a discipline, but as an art. They chose the unexpected, surprising and uncertain, all out attack, over the safety first calculated prowess of those who follow them. I do of course appreciate metronomic precision and the work and preparation that engenders it, but I long for the times when a romantic approach to your sport could win the day, when you were afraid to stop watching, for a single instant, as you may miss the unmissable, fail to witness art painted on the blank canvas of the chequered board, the snaking Alpine roads or the green grass of the Welsh pitches

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