A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“A man is washing the car with his son. The son asks, ‘Dad, can’t you just use a sponge?‘“ (6/23)
“Don’t waste a moment of your life trying to be normal” (6/23)
“Dance like no one is watching. Because they are not. They’re checking their phones” (6/23)
“Dance like no one is watching. Because they are not. They’re checking their phones” (6/23)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (6/23)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


Entry from August 24, 2011
“To be the best, you have to play the best”

"To be the best, you have to play (against) the best” (or, “You have to play the best, to be the best") is an old sports maxim. Some sports leagues offer stronger competition that others; beating poor teams in a weak league or conference doesn’t necessarily show how good a team is.

“In order to become the best, you have to play the best” dates in print to at least September 1972, when it was used to describe a college football schedule.


Google News Archive
5 September 1972, Tuscaloosa (AL) News, “Duke Coach Plenty Impressed By Tide Football” by Delbert Reed, pg. 6, col. 7:
As McGee says, “In order to become the best, you have to play the best.”

And who can forget that last season the Blue Devils upset such teams as Florida, South Carolina, Virginia and Stanford?
(Duke University football coach Mike McGee—ed.)

17 November 1976, Oregonian (Portland, OR), “Oregon State’s proud defensive unit proving itself effective” by Nick Bertram, pg. F1, col. 6:
“It’s been challenging,” Holmes said, “because in order to be the best, you have to play against the best. That’s what’s exciting. You know you can’t get any better.”
(Senior free safety Lenny Holmes—ed.)

Google News Archive
7 January 1979, Pittsburgh (PA) Press, “Dan’s Dad Provides Food For Thought” by John Clayton, pg. D6, col. 4:
“I expected it to be this way—playing the Steelers for the AFC Championship,” Pastorini said. “That’s the way I wanted it. My father always said, ‘You have to play the best, to be the best.’”
(Houston Oilers quarterback Dan Pastorini—ed.)

8 November 1985, Gettysburg (PA) Times, “Bullet stickers finish second,” pg. 13, col. 2:
Bowers added national powers Glassboro and Bloomsburg to an already difficult schedule following the maxim “you have to play the best to be the best.”

Google Books
September 1996, Black Enterprise, “Tennis & Golf Programs at Historically Black Colleges & Universities,” pg. 118:
“I tell my players all the time that in order to be the best, not only do you have to play the best but you have to beat the best.”

Google Books
Chasing the King
By Joshua Stein
La Jolla, CA: Scobre Press
2003
Pg. 77:
“OK, cool,” Ricardo repeated me and smiled, “And how does the saying go in English? You have to play the best to be the best. So it will be fun for you.”

The Independent (London)
Rugby Union
Hodgson: ‘To be the best, you have to play against the best’
Charlie Hodgson has painful memories of the All Blacks, but the England full-back is relishing chance to put the record straight. He talks to Paul Newman
Friday, 18 November 2005

Google Books
Game Day:
A Rollicking Journey to the Heart of College Football

By Craig James
Hoboken, NJ: Wiley
2009
Pg. 228:
Battle-Tested
I’ve always been a big believer that you have to play the best to be the best. In games against excellent competition, coaches and players are better able to discover their strengths and weaknesses.

The New York Rangers Blog
Miller: To Be the Best You Have to Play Against the Best
Written by Kevin DeLury | Thursday, 11 August 2011 09:00
In a story at Blueshirts United, 2011 first round pick J.T. Miller has this to say about his first Team USA World Junior tryout…

“It’s a great challenge, but I love it,” explained Miller. “I believe that to be the best you have play against the best. So I am loving this opportunity.”

inMaricopa.com (AZ)
Rams face tough season opener against Williams Field
By WAYNE BLOCK
August 24, 2011 - 12:50 pm
There’s an old saying that some, but not all, coaches subscribe to that goes, “If you want to be the best, you have to play the best.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • (0) Comments • Wednesday, August 24, 2011 • Permalink