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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.
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VINE VOICEon 7 July 2010
"Get Her Off The Pitch" is a pleasure to read. There are a great many "laugh out loud" moments as you'd expect with this writer, but also many moments of thoughtful reflection that give the book depth and significance. While much of the writing is plainly autobiographical, there are passages here about sport and its place in our culture which are profoundly important and as such it is not a book limited to readers only interested in sport. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys good writing.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 26 October 2009
A funny and thoughtful view of Lynne Truss' life as a rather unconventional sports journalist. I'm sorry not to have been in the country when she did the actual pieces, but hopefully, it will not be the last time they take the opportunity to get an outsider's view on a traditional subject.
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on 7 August 2010
I enjoyed this book. It's both thoughtful and humorous. It was a very good idea to make a young female, graduate "sporting agnostic" a sports reporter, and she offers a refreshing outsider's view into the largely male world of sport, its reporters, its followers, and the people who run it and participate in it.

I think what I enjoyed most was her comment at the end: "I am mostly very proud of having been a sports writer, and grateful that I was given the chance to do something so extraordinary - and I can be quite sharp with anyone who is snobby about sport, that's for sure".

Good for you, Lynne Truss, and thanks for a good book.
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VINE VOICEon 21 January 2010
Lynn Truss has written a funny, if occasionally crude, book which covers the range of emotions journalists regularly experience in reporting the over-rated world of sport. Sports writing "is not so much a job as a predicament". It's not all about the contest but finding a seat in the stadium, checking the television replay, or even arguing with officials about your press pass. It's also about putting sport into its proper context as Boris Becker did after suffering an unexpected loss at Wimbledon, "Nobody died. I just lost a tennis match". By comparison, of course, Bill Shankley said, "Some people think football's a matter of life and death. It's more serious than that."

What Truss learned was that sport in the flesh is significantly different from that seen on the screen. She described Lennox Lewis knocking out Frans Botha with a punch which left the South African suffering "the sort of undignified exit usually associated with two muscular nightclub bouncers with the benefit of a run-up." That Lewis could deliver such a powerful punch from rest left Truss gasping for superlatives. "I can only report it's worth seeing". Presumably as long as you're not on the receiving end.

Professing total ignorance Truss soon learned the tools of the trade in football were knowing the club's ground (and being able to find it!!), the names of the manager and chairman and the club's nickname. Unable to find one ground she asked the way and was gently pointed in the direction of massive floodlights, a sure sign of the heavenly city. Eventually her travelling redefined her image of the places she visited and she found herself drawn into the emotion of the games (who didn't when David Ellary appeared to rob Chesterfield of a place in the FA Cup Final?). Surprisingly, while she mentioned Ravenelli couldn't find the goal, she omitted to say he was good in the air - between Teeside and Milan.

Sports journalism was just like any reporting job writing stories about exceptional people doing exceptional things but match reporting was something else. Anyone who has listened to Stuart Hall waxing lyrical about a nil all match within ten minutes of the final whistle can only sit back in amazement - the more so when you've tried it yourself and failed miserably. Truss's first day at Wimbledon left her "an emotional wreck" with a desire to return to television reviewing. To her credit she persevered and witnessed some historic moments in sport including the Ryder Cup at Brookline. She also concluded that while men's play was about sublimating the sex urge, women's participation was about celebrating physical liberation. That observation and her description of widespread antipathy towards her by some older male journalists provide Truss's book with a different perspective.

Sports journalism is about judgement and Truss's depiction of Alan Shearer as having "all the grace and daintiness of a bulldozer" was one I found easy to endorse. In fairness to Shearer he did make her happy by not taking part in the last match she covered for the Times. Fortunately, Kevin Keegan decided to resign as England manager immediately after the match to provide an excellent story and give Truss the satisfaction of having one of her male colleagues say "You were right about Keegan". I appreciated her honesty when she mentioned she had missed David Beckham's sending off against Argentina, even though it occurred right in front of her. She refused her editor's demand for an assassination piece on Beckham because she felt sorry for him. It's not surprising she gave up sports writing. Setting people up then knocking them down is its stock in trade.

Truss gave it up not because sports writing drove her to the edge of a nervous breakdown, although the constant battles with officials and editors didn't help. It was because her sister died, just a year short of being diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. Set against personal tragedy sport should be irrelevant although dedicated professionals don't let such things get in their way. That's not what Truss wanted for herself although she's appreciative of the fact she was "tested in the fire of football". Her experiences left me with a warm glow when I finally put the book down. Five stars.
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on 18 February 2013
One of the editors at the Times had a quirky idea: take Lynne Truss - at this stage, before the publication of Eats, Shoots and Leaves, a middle-aged female television critic who has no interest in sport - and send her to sporting events to provide articles that will add colour to the newspaper's coverage. And it worked. For four years, Truss lived as a sportswriter, with the long journeys, periods away from home and all the frustrations that comes with it. Truss writes with good humour - those who have read Eats, Shoots and Leaves will know what to expect, although the subject matter is completely different. Some of the analysis she provides about the sports that she professed to have no knowledge of or interest in is astounding and her chapter on the Ryder Cup is brilliant. That leads on to my one reservation. Truss surely over-exaggerates her lack of knowledge and interest in sport to play up the theme of her being an outsider in the world of a sportswriter. I read the claim that she didn't know that England were to host Euro 96 until her editor told her, nor that she knew who Terry Venables or Alan Shearer were, with a great deal of scepticism. It's almost as though, at times, she isn't willing to admit how much she became part of the whole sport circus that she is gently mocking. Still, it's a great and different read.
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on 6 March 2015
Truss is good value and good company here as she takes you on a fairly original view on sports journalism in the UK. She makes many valid and sane points about what she witnesses though sometimes I think the stress and repetition and outside influences made things difficult. It was also good to see her challenge some of the backward and sexist old guard she came up against and it's shocking and all so depressing to think that such antiquated values are still in evidence in this day and age. So much respect for her taking this on and for making such a fine job of it.
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on 17 December 2014
This is a book of two halves. I found the first half to be fresh and enjoyable. The author has an amusing turn of phrase and it was interesting to get her take on being a female in a male world and reporting on sports about which she knew little. But that about sums the book up and although the various chapters deal with different sports it was more or less the same stuff the whole time and it got a bit repetitive and slightly boring. I found myself checking how much more was left to read - not a good sign.
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on 29 May 2013
This is easily one of the funniest books I have ever read and since I bought it I have bought it for numerous amounts of people as gifts...even my Dad liked it! I would recommend this to anyone, but especially women that consider themselves gold/cricket/football widows because it will give you a) an insight as to why they love it so much and b) a reason to laugh at them!
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on 17 September 2009
Excellent. Informative, touching, funny and extremely well written and readable. Superb Lynne Truss as always.
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