Can you really claim to have written a rounded social history of the British peoples with no regard to the cultural and human influences bestowed by - even obsession for - games, sports and pastimes? In the case of these two ivory-towered historians is it blind ignorance or the scholar's shaming snobbery?It is, indeed, mystifying. Something that engages the attention and the passions of millions of people, and gives them huge enjoyment. Something in which feats of great skill are exhibited regularly and which contains moments that are unforgettable to those who witness them, moments that 'lift' them, moments of sheer beauty. A way of spending time that would endure in any half-way 'good society', never mind utopia (and, by my lights anyway, endure in its competitive as well as in the 'everyone can win just by taking part' forms). And yet a closed book to some. Not merely in the sense of being of no interest to them (which is fine); but, rather, in the sense of seeming to them to be of no human significance. 'Snobbery' doesn't seem the right word for this. Ignorance? Maybe. Or narrowness of understanding.