Author: Thomas Bowden

The Joy of Football

As half the nation eagerly awaits the kickoff of the Super Bowl, the other half looks on in wonderment at what could be so enthralling about grown men running up and down a field carrying an oblong ball. Football fans who cannot articulate why they feel such passion for the game may retreat to their television sets feeling a vague sense of guilt that, perhaps, they are wasting their time. However, no guilt is called for, because watching sports satisfies a vital human need. The essential value of spectator sports lies in their capacity to illustrate, in a dramatic way, the process of human goal-achievement. They do this by making the process shorter, simpler, and more visually exciting than it is in daily life–and by giving us heroes to admire. A process of goal-achievement underlies everything that makes our lives richer, from discovering new medicines to learning about computers, from pursuing a career to enjoying friends and family. But success is not automatic–each such endeavor must be started and maintained, often in the face of great obstacles, by an individual’s choices. To gather the moral courage to make their own difficult choices each day, people need inspiration–the spiritual fuel that flows from the sight of another’s achievement. Unfortunately, our culture’s traditional sources of inspiration have dried up. Today’s movies give us serial killers or self-mocking secret agents, novels feature...

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Columbus Day Celebrates Western Civilization

  On October 12, 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered the New World, opening a sea route to vast uncharted territories that awaited the spread of Western civilization. Centuries later, the ensuing cultural migration culminated in the birth and explosive growth of the greatest nation in history: the United States of America.It is fitting that we have set aside a day to honor the Great Explorer. On one level, Columbus Day honors the man himself for his many virtues. Columbus was a man of independent mind, who steadfastly pursued his bold plan for a westward voyage to the Indies despite powerful...

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