I’m bucking the “now” imperative and running a forty-year-old photo that was tucked away in the sports pages of today’s NYT. I’m running it because when I saw it, I just sat there gazing at it over my first coffee of the morning and knew that I’d begun the day right.
Taken just after Brazil beat England in the World Cup, it shows the two all-time greats of soccer, Bobby Moore and Pelé, exchanging jerseys:
I think it was Arthur Koestler who once fantasized that sports could bring nations together — an idea that became laughable with the rise of soccer hooliganism and the mad flag-draped patriotism and medal-counting of the modern Olympics. But this was one shining moment when who won and who lost was irrelevant.
Forty years ago, it was the black/white thing that people focused on when they saw this photo. Now, in 2010, some will probably focus on a perceived homoerotic quality. But here’s the thing: Forty years from now, in 2050, this will still be a moving photo, no matter what socio-political concerns of the time people bring to it.
What we see here is the art of living — the art of two people at the height of their powers, in full mutual respect, admiration, and friendship.
I wish there were more photos like it.
(You can read the excellent story behind the photo — on the photographer John Varley, who died last week — here.)