"I can beat Kennedy at golf", sport and politics

Sports and politics have historically intertwined in complex and sometimes perilous ways, a theme journalist Massimo De Luca explores onstage in his theatrical piece

by Andrea Gussoni
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"I can beat Kennedy at golf", sport and politics
© Luke Walker / Getty Images Sport

Sports and politics have historically intertwined in complex and sometimes perilous ways, a theme journalist Massimo De Luca explores onstage in his theatrical piece "Posso battere Kennedy a golf" ("I Can Beat Kennedy at Golf").

The play features a green at center stage, drawing the audience into anecdotes of a never-played golf match between Fidel Castro and John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who missed his appointment with golf legend Arnold Palmer due to the tragedy in Dallas shortly thereafter.

However, De Luca's narrative is not limited to golf—a sport he has pursued as a hobby for years—but extends to various sports that reveal the interconnectedness of these two seemingly distant realms.

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Consider the tumultuous years between the '70s and '80s, when three consecutive Olympic boycotts nearly pushed the games to extinction.

Or the dramatic historical episode known as the "Blood in the Water" match at the Melbourne Olympics, a water polo semi-final between Hungary and the Soviet Union. This match occurred on December 6, 1956, just weeks after the Hungarian student and worker uprising was brutally suppressed by Soviet tanks in Budapest, leading to the most violent water polo match in history.

Another intriguing story involves Baron Gottfried Von Cramm, the premier German tennis player before Boris Becker, who, despite his noble Saxon lineage, was first lauded and then persecuted by the Nazi regime. De Luca also recalls the football match that never happened between Lazio and Barcelona in the UEFA Cup, and the Davis Cup in Chile.

In his theatrical recount, De Luca revisits these and other significant events at the intersection of sports and politics, illustrating the folly of attempting to separate two spheres that are in fact different yet interconnected expressions of our society.

Join the event on May 15 at 9:00 PM at the Teatro Sala Umberto in Rome for a charitable evening benefiting the Italian Cancer League (LILT). These are all the info.

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