Things That Matter
Charles Krauthammer
Contributed by Nina Calhoun
Chapter 5

This chapter majorly revolves around passions and pastimes. Krauthammer uses baseball, chess and mathematics to explain his stand on the two concepts. Surprisingly, he seems to have a profound interest in the three issues. He emphasizes baseball just as a real fan would. He clearly understands that most people may not see sense in loving what he loves e.g. being a fan of the Nats and being so proud despite the continued loses. He talks about people’s reactions to such pride for the team. Ideally, most individuals like to associate and support a winning team, the one that never disappoints its fan (Krauthammer 77). Krauthammer explains this by mentioning the Cubs and the Phyllis. The fans of these teams go to the extent of making it personal if a player messes during the play. Aside from baseball, chess also seems to have a special place in Krauthammer’s heart. He tells the reader about the experience he had after attending a chess game between two excellent players. The description given in the games shows how it is essential to several people, especially the world’s best players. Each move during the game must be perfect, and a running time makes the game more interesting (Krauthammer 79). Mathematics, on the other hand, has its fans. Different individuals attend lectures on the subject with the aim of grasping some content from presenters. Others even spend several years trying to solve mathematical problems presented to the world decades ago (Krauthammer 80). Nonetheless, those attending the lectures have some expectations that the professors must satisfy failure to which the audience leaves in disgrace.


Every individual in the world has his or her passion and a way of passing the time. Krauthammer’s desires lie in baseball and chess. Mathematics also receive some attention from the author. Baseball seems very important to him, although he never travels with his favorite team. Despite that, he prides himself with the Nats and as a real fan, he remains with them even after a loss. The loss may be devastating, but to him, it is not enough reason to hate the team. He also talks about chess as another passion he has, not as a player but as a fan. He speaks of the world’s best player of the game, and the achievements the player has had over the years. However, playing against a machine seems different from playing another human being. Mentioning Kasparov’s Game 1 loss against a computer shows how the creations and technological advancements made by man may become superior over the human race (Krauthammer 83). This particular machine has an advanced calculating ability which allows it to beat the best player on his own game. Mathematics, on the other hand, shows the world’s geniuses and the people who interest themselves in solving mathematical problems. The author also explains the potential held by different people in the field of innovation and education, things that recline outside talents.

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