Not many of today’s sports pundits and “analysts” would have the sensitivity to include in their summation of the tragedy of the 1972 Munich Olympics a recitation of A.E. Housman’s great poem “To an Athlete Dying Young.”David A. King, Ph.D.


A Sportscaster on the Munich Disaster


Let's say a few words about the late Jim McKay

Who invoked the wrong poem on a very sad day.

There are appropriate dirges that might have been sung

But not Housman's "To an Athlete Dying Young."

That he misunderstood it is abundantly clear.

So you can all see it I'll paraphrase here:


"Folks, I know it seems bad that these young jocks have died,

But let's try to look on a much brighter side.

Just think of it as a pain-saving tactic.

Now they won't live long lives that are anticlimactic."


What was meant by the poet as a wry observation

Could hardly be farther from a death consolation.


David Martin




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