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Don't cry for her, Alan Shearer
on 6 June 2012
The author lived in blissful ignorance of sport for about four decades of her life, prior to a sports editor deciding that she would be the ideal person to provide his newspaper with a different perspective on sport, particularly football. Having assured himself of her unfamiliarity with sport or its personalities, he offered her a job as sports writer. It lasted for about four years, at which point the author quit following the death of her sister, but it would be a few more years before a book was published about this period of her life,
This very funny book has chapters on some sports that the author ended up liking to varying degrees, these being boxing, football, tennis, golf and cricket, with one chapter devoted to rounding up sports that she never particularly enjoyed for a variety of reasons. As a spectacle, it seems that basketball was the worst for her, although motor racing wasn`t a lot better from her perspective. She indicates that she might have liked horse racing better, but she found the attitude of the regular sports writers to be particularly unpleasant. Shame, really, because her take on Royal Ascot might be entertaining, and of course would have given her an opportunity to wear one of those hats.
At one point think that she might like to have Alan Shearer's children, she ended up not liking him at all, Just as well she didn't have those children, eh?
The author was frustrated about many other things in her four years as a sports writer - transport and accommodation foremost among them. She bemoans the lack of directions for stadiums, suggesting that maybe the authorities don't see the need to signpost them as they tend to be conspicuous anyway, True, but it can still be confusing, especially if there are two near other. People have stopped often enough to ask me to direct them to either the rugby or football stadium in Leicester, and my answer is usually something not much more than "just round the corner". The cricket ground is somewhat further away, but any time I've been in the vicinity, I've usually been asked the same question. It's actually more confusing than the other two, because there are no entrances actually on Grace Road itself; they are on adjoining roads. Stadium signage should be available for those newcomers who arrive early and therefore can't just follow the crowd.
I see that one reviewer read the book, thinking that it might appeal to a non-sports fan, and seemed to enjoy it, but sports fans should enjoy it a lot more. I don't mind that the author mixes stories about being a sports writer with actual sports writing. Apart from anything else, it shows that she has some ability to write about sport despite limited knowledge of the subject. The sports editor who originally offered her the job must have known that her writing abilities would be enough, and he was vindicated.
So this is a very funny book about a period in her life that the author didn't see coming beforehand.