There are just too many of us to let everyone have a go at doing whatever they want to do. There have to be some filters; the queues have to be manageable. In sport the entry criteria are more obvious, and the results more predictable than in business or science, for instance. In sport, you have to have the right physical attributes, obvious talent and a commitment to stay match fit, and then practise a lot. These attributes won’t be enough to make you a superstar, but you’ll probably get noticed by the right scout. Every time you play it’s another test. Every tournament, every match you compete in, particularly with individual, elimination sports, like tennis or golf, is another test. On-the-field performance evaluation, while you’re actually doing something, is very different from academic testing, which only demonstrates your propensity to do it. At the highest level, sport is live. Actions influence futures. Extraordinary skills A fullback in rugby can only knock on so many high...

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