EconTalk host Russ Roberts sat down with golfing buddy and former editor-in-chief of ESPN Magazine Gary Belsky. Their conversation ranged over many sports, with discussion of American football, Indian field hockey, British tennis, and the mystique of the Stanley Cup. And Belsky’s newest book…On the Origins of Sports.

Is sportsmanship a thing of the past? Are sporting contests always a zero-sum game? Are there too many rules in sports today?

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1. Why does Belsky think football players would suffer fewer concussions if the only time they wore helmets was during games? What would be the costs, if any, if this change were implemented?

2. What’s your least favorite rule in sports? What would be your remedy for the problem that rule was enacted to mitigate? (Don’t even start on designated hitters…)3. To what extent is sport a good analogy or metaphor for how we should be as individuals, and how societies or communities should work?

4. How would you define sportsmanship? How does Belsky describe sportsmanship as a counterweight to “taunting?” Is there a concept in economics analogous to sportsmanship? Explain.