As _From_ the Journal of a Sportswriter.

He said it looks like Arsenal is fighting to the top; it is going to be like Fever Pitch again.
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I could pretend I am Hornby (could horny be?) who had an accident and lost his memory. Therefore not recollecting Fever Pitch; memory needing to be no more than since the accident: loss of memory, of course; how else a different person, altogether? So: why not be another character altogether. Millions than Hornby, watch football. To invent another character would also lose the irony of the differences between the two Hornbys, leading the reader through a familiar text, with choice twists… No, it is his book!
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Cultural Studies defines a definite space for each that legitimates what is the real meaning of societal viewpoint: your societal group, block that yours, chip from (at least as many as make a cult, then?); no other perception precisely so placed in society: idealistically (ironically, its opposite!) the viewpoint/group, defining eachother: satirising, alternately. Such writing would be real fieldwork, mapping Cultural Studies: making anthropologist’s, instead hearsay. This reminds how, despite its disallowance in law courts, any report on court proceedings narrates as hearsay. All reports of any proceedings are hearsay evidence, thereof: therefore, following the court directions, not, the best criterion for discovering who said what. ––What of sport reporting, then?
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The differences are between tabloid and broadsheet journalism, between radio and television sports writing. Tabloid journalists, complain incessantly about the degrees, and snobbery and condescension of the broadsheet journalist. They couldn’t do our job if they tried: I, so easily able to do theirs: they and their long words and their l-o-n-g time to get from point to point. This immediately points to its counterpart, with the accusation of hack. They are both correct. Sometimes cliches, instead of their repetitiveness serve the function of the traffic lights: the signals known, the reading accelerated. Therefore, sometimes there is nothing so hackneyed as the predictable observances and uninteresting tangents of a writer who has simply developed new cliches which, he thinks, only time –– after his time, no doubt: so it defines! –– should flaw. All sportswriters are on the same side, given another dimension, as is radio, and much of television. Radio coverage follows the ball, makes quips: in-between commercials, if such. One is blind to all this. The television tells you what you are watching: narrates how what you see means; also deciding where the camera focuses. If there is a camera there, maybe more, and not everything filmed makes it to television: there is no reason why, even though they don’t, spectators should feel less uneasy about them than security cameras. All these are, when you think what it, ‘hearsay’, means, telling us what they see and hear in the game: except those parts on television they do televise as they narrate, which we can see ourselves. Sports writing, then, defines as next to ‘hearsay’ evidence, in the way that the French priest used to tell us: “You know nothing or next to nothing!” ––Except, it is we, who know nothing or next to nothing, when we only know what we hear. Hornby narrated everything he saw heard for us, in the way that sportswriters do; but in writing the book with himself as the character; genre: autobiography; it, introspective, he has made us eavesdroppers. Sportswriters write to inform us, instruct us, and figuratively leave their shoes for us to walk in, trace their footsteps: as though swampland instead of individual experience ensues, sidestepping them. In eavesdropping, we pry into Hornby’s introspection. Although it is a book, a communication: as a suicide note, written for not for others, is autobiography. An ironical, desperate reach-out (the straw just the focus) introspection narrated, watchfully wary of the totem presence —they spring witch doctors!— of the superego. The last grasp at the straw is the final instinctive, survival reflex (much of all of us, ever not what we want to do).
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We are creatures of our environments, given that, how the environment succeeds is its problem with our genes. Binaries make us. Man woman; vagina penis; spermatozoon ovule: they, the cause of that electric thunderstorm. ––Maybe its constituents, what make up our psychology: much as meteors: planets: whole milky ways!: the egg is a shape, is the trek of the Earth around the sun. We are born into the genetics environment binary. Then: father mother; parents siblings; siblings friends; special friends friends; visitors family; church family; school family; special friends friends; we them; I who? ––Without things governmental political, up to the United Nations, or equivalent; one’s own nation never behaving the good citizen as they ask of us when they hold the umbrella.
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All this informs, defines, creates the niche, the almost, stand-up coffin space, that is our own, whether or not we own possessions, by right of being: making the rape sentences, more, illogical than humiliating. Logically, the laws inform that our bodies belong so little to us that, when raped, it is that instruction, this time, individually. If they let allow that it could happen to her, the doorways to us, are open, somewhere. This is a long way from every home, a castle.
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Within this generality, there is me. A postman could trace me through these lines: ranks of, to where I am on a king size bed with my keyboard on two pillows in front of me. As reachable through an address, a telephone line, an Internet, had I one. Probably, we had telepathy once before language cancelled it; like we had its powers before workings of that ability was dislocated; powerful scientific self-confident machinery/weaponry, telling we did not have A,B,C tag-lincs proving/showing in our endeavours as as accepted \ not yet questioned/ (doubt!, asking // shattering confidence already, doubtful telepathy, of corrupt format // not reaching): putting doubt as/to doubt’s immediacy as doubt will ceisure, cause.
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I think the sportswriter is the fan (out of all the construction particularizing the outcome as is, in this open-air factory called society): here, the particularity is I. Since sports writing, is perception dependent individually qualifiable, all autobiographically traceable to the societal group of the writer, that data informs the particular sport writing.
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At first one feels Cultural Studies monopolizes, decides what is apt in perception; one there to cite what groups gripe, say, re themselves; the majority of, one, restricted to the single table, single chair, single cup of coffee in Coventry. That is soon what used to be the case. As you write in a more defined way, you try to dodge the implications of there is nothing new under the sun. It, associating immediately with the sun as perpetual and the whole expanse of the British Empire (many areas now: countries; independent: redefined; renamed: different again from when Britain came). Football was one of the strongest unifying forces in colonial countries. Many African countries, like Ghana, made it their goal to make it as contestants for the World Cup, on par with those who colonized them. Suddenly there is nothing new under the sun no more stuck out its tongue: symbolically, it became a banner, became a tubing, inflated itself, and dropped beside me so I could cling to it like being lost at sea. If, there is nothing new under the sun, then there always are others thinking as I do, if never in exactly the same manner: there; my group! ––As dispersed as discourse is discursive, maybe.
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Particularly, I am out of the work force; out of working part time while receiving New Start Allowance: their insisting I undergo retraining, while I was Lollipop Man at East Claremo… I read, wrote, but never with any particular direction. The books overload my flat. My main work was cleaning. This informs my column. If we knew enough about what informs writing, it would not be particularly interesting, but the data will dress-up information with the embroidery of what is.
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There is more. I have always been obsessed with death. They say it has to do with delaying getting anywhere in life; you start to make excuses, as, only death will stop you. But, when death does visit you, you pretend it no more than Tuesday has to be, yesterday, being Monday! Then it peppers your obsession with its reality: its body, flickering suggestion onto your morbid, mental data. It starts to become more real that death is there to stop you, the unpredictability always making it immanent. This affects your writing. You write as if it might be the last writing: you do not think in terms of your having great secrets to keep for the future: you hope all there is would make the page. You tend to make statements about sports as though they were about the significance of life: and: they are!
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Hornby’s Fever Pitch (confessions of a fan) narrates as though on a couch, sections that are football game dates. He uses football to describe himself; uses himself to describe football; the description of himself becomes the description of football, Arsenal: vice versa. Football is his all purpose metaphor, and it is apt; he does have a love hate relationship with it: unable to feel the one emotion without its being qualified by the other. I keep remembering other writers using bits of sequential writing, adding to become chapter, to become book. Boris Pastenak, definitely: _Doctor Zhivago. Also Irving Stone, who wrote those biographical novels on statesmen and artists, memorably, Van Gogh and Michaelangelo. Vladimir Nabokov wrote on cards, so he could easily re-arrange his novel, as desired. With Hornby, it appears to suggest that he only lived when football; his day-to-day are successive football days. His narration about football included that re his father, the divorce, the life at home life at stadiums binary, his father’s second marriage, love, death (––football caused death!), music, university, sex, feminism, seeking difference, handling his obsession… To Hornby, one can narrate life as including time spent away from football.
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That violence is part of the football culture. One could simply say that the good player played the football successfully, and the other messed up his play and had a go at the player, instead, showing anger at being second best. They could always make it make it as they used to play: navy football; anything goes. Like in The Last Boyscout In America, the player is told: you go do that touchdown, Jerry, or its back in civi street, you understand? So we see him catch the ball, make his way to touchdown. He pushes one aside, pushes his hand into the other face, then, approaching the strong defense his hand reaches low as his other holds the ball, bounding forward heavily. Then the hand gone low comes up with a gun in hand and he shoots them that come, guns and police, also now follow him to touchdown, where he does, resting, panting, weary, still in squatting position. He looks up and says, Ain’t life a bitch!? He shoots his head off.
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To determine whether the bowler throws the ball, just watch where his bowling arm halts as balls hurl: there would be an angled-off area where the ball could not go if bowled: chucked, yes. It may be the baseball diamond is so, designed to automate such out of play hits. The Austrian ski jumper, Steiner, was to do his jump from a lower slope to stop him flying too far. Walter Steiner: they only jump 130 meters; if they jumped 140 m, Steiner would jump 170m. From the lower slope he had jumped 166m that day: gliding like he knew not how to come down. He said that with good thermals he could easily do 180m; he wrote:
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I ought to be all alone in my world.

Just me Steiner, and no other living creature.

No sun, no culture.

Just me flying naked on a tall cliff.

No sun, no snow, no street,

No banks, no money, no time no breath.

Then I certainly wouldn’t be afraid.
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Steiner, prepares for the competitions. There are “two or three” each year. Phar Lapp, suddenly, comes to mind. Phar Lapp, undertook stamina-training on the sandy beach; the missionary-priest, Liddell, who will not-run on Sundays in Charriots Of Fire, so did, among the dunes in Scotland; Rocky IV, in rural USSR (while the USSR contender trained with modern technology in the city); the Karate Kid underwent training realized through job tasks; the Geisha’s training begins with tasks that have her dip her hands in icy cold waters. Phar Lapp, additionally, was handicapped by having to carry additional weight (bars: some metal), it, winning anyway. They showed Steiner prepare his skis: roughened here, waxed there: ––Were his extra long? ––Did I see him use an iron? There’s that narration re the body builder and the train conductor, which clarifies the above. The conductor had taken up conversation one late night with some bulky person who turned out to be involved in lifting heavy weights. They had agreed to go have coffee some place. ––As soon as the conductor had pulled all the train windows shut, and some things. “I’ll help you!” ––The train conductor took a while to catch up with the body builder, but then left him further and further behind.
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One could compare Whie Man Can’t Jump with our two Australians playing volley ball during the Olympic. There was something extra dynamic about White Men Can’t Jump, maybe the personalities of Snipes and Harrelson, who have since played mixed-race step brothers in Money Train. Snipes plays a black man who plays playing a black man: the walk, the wiggle, the hand gestures; the bobbing head, the shoulder-swing, alternating the footsteps, as the fingers invent a code ––is this semi-colonal to what the Travoltra character calls doing the strut? --; the falsetto voice, as constantly in the tone of surprise as the Australian’s atoned as if constantly asking questions.
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Snipes is a hustler. The put-on is to appear to be a put-on, so that he, equally boasting his basketball capability by noisily insulting the game-play he sees in action, will readily receive takers challenge him for money. He makes his money that way, while there is no competitions to win. He meets Harrelson, who dresses like a chump, also a put-on; for roughly, the same reasons; also to not look the opposite, while in black territory. He has his cap turned to the back; wears an overly loose shirt, wide open so his chain does not often touch cloth; his shorts go long to his knees; he said he wore gray socks with his basketball shoes. Snipe addresses him as chump, Harrrelson, talking in that assumed way: now and then, breaking out to talk exactly like Snipes, which Snipes refuses to accept. Later Snipes refuses to accept that Harrelson can listen to Hendrix. No, no, no, no, no: a white man can hear Hendrix, but he cannot listen to him; a white man will never be able to lis-ten! to Hendrix. It is Snipes, who, later, utters the line, that white men can’t jump, to Harrelson.
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It is this comical carry-on between the two that entertains as they hustle: play basketball: two against any comers. What joins the two is that Snipes in actually losing to Harrelson when hustling him, realizes that he was hustled himself. At first the offer to hustle together is itself a hustle. In their second job Snipes makes a pact with the opposition and purposely loses with Harrelson. It is Harrelson’s wife who sees through this [there is something chump about him!: this chump, who does jump at the end of the movie: at the last minute he has to edge the ball Snipes hurls towards the net; and as he runs, fully tuned in, to the precise nudge needed by that ball now going to bounce off the topside of the net there and his effort sees the feet leave the ground, lo!, reach up, nudge it, in to the net! If Harrelson did not, felt enthusiasm, saw him also grab hold of the ring that held the net and monkeydance! (what other word would describe it?)], and when both front Snipes at home, the wives in the kitchen (the husbands in the front room debating how it is etiquette that the chump expect he is going to be hustled by the black man), decide it is in their husbands interest that they team to win the two-a-side basketball competition, imminent, paying $5,000. Harrelson will receive half his money back.
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All this informs when you compare this now with the two who played volleyball for Australia in the Olympics. They are playing as representatives of Australia, instead of hustling; theirs could be a gold medal. The entire beach is a confetti crowd, cheering the two girls, all having lives definable in how they fit into their groups within society, as informed above. They are interested in sports, in contestants competing towards a definite end. It is the national past time, sports. Theory has it that life is dull and repetitive, endless as the treadmill. The macro dimension has extended, now to become global: universal, to some: limitless, to few, who want to believe that the universe may be an atom in another universe. However, the unit, the worker, feels as useless as the chair there to sit on.
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Modern sport was created to organize the worker’s leisure, so he would come back to work, sober, without damage to his body. The workers are taxed with coded comodification of all they see, hear, eat and drink; with signals, associate the products with beautiful women and strong men; film stars, pop stars, champions in sports; signaling labels, types, values; making icons. Regular sports, advertised, televised; the constant battering of much repeated slogans, and catch-words; names of esteemed players, clubs, together with the drink, the clothing, the food, and they are as one, mates. Another way of saying this, is that people grow values, in common.
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They cheered the two girls playing volleyball for the country, because they were all together, in the event. The girls, now the participants, the icons, the proof that commodification luggage, consumed by them as well as the spectators, is now in the process of achieving that success, again. When Snipes and Harrelson played in the competitions, instead of their daily hustling, in White Men Can’t Jump, they had that community support. They were within the celebration where feats were official, formally decided on by representatives that measured how they fit in as corollary to the icons and values as established in the daily diet of commodification.
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The spectators are also the real sportswriters, recording the events as seen subjectively objectively in front of them; already commenting on, applauding, appending tangent remarks, thoughts, grunts, gushes of counterpart, speedometer-monitored body fluids, temperatures; even collating the data recorded, alphabetically, chronologically, aesthetically, hierarchically: all, maybe even quicker than that life will brisk past their eyes, then. The sportswriter, computer, is slower because they are after the fact: like no speedster, typewriting secretary can be faster than I can when I type directly from my brain. The sportswriter has to gauge his work according to that other meter-monitored variant: the sports ingredient of the spectator’s cultural capital, or contain so much fluff.
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Umberto Eco And Football turned out to be about what Eco wrote about football; about this, given his other writing re semiotics, as well as his self-confessed anti-football stance: the last, not known by me; my interest, his postmodernism(?) content. The book therefore is about someone who writes something of some importance who also writes about football. This fits well with me, autobiographically. I am tuning in to writing about sports: finding it exhilarating, if wafer thin it’s handshake; already a shade as you grasp it, soon a haunt, and you’d rather see her ghost, instead.
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Watching sport is watching now, now, now, as now manifests the existential tic, symbolized, accounted by the second hand on the clock, counting as well the action being played on the field, each time already the succeeding action. Jugs-full instead of sips of beer. Fast the pace so the windscreen can eat up as much. The fan leaves the stadium as the van leaves the freeway, shocked by the sudden halt of tempo: one is already at the horizon as one culture shocks the van to actually stop, in line, at the short, almost sudden, veer off James Street traffic lights.
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The book begins by stating that the signs do not distinguish when they signal, proceeding to narrate semiotics. It spends time narrating Eco’s place in Semiotics; footballs place in his semiotics: confesses meanwhile, Eco’s stand as anti-football. If it is true, as it is, that the influence of pop music is in its constant performance state, relating to the perceptions of identities which undergo reidentification by re-opened codes and meanings of past construction that heterogeneously harmonize with present experientials: How can one make a decision against what is already gone: the address is at what comes subsequently?: ––in football. In one place Eco says he likes football: it is the fans, he hates. You wonder if he has just made a quip, is playing wing position with his tongue to insinuate a point. Eco even allows his anti football football position describable as analogous to racism. His racism, this is the way the argument flows, is no different than the Lombard League xenaphobes for Third World immigrants. He dislikes the football fans being here, where he is: they ought to be where they are during the week, their haunts, milk bars, whatever; not where he wants to be, is. Despite all this –– he also says he likes it when Liverpool comes to town, because then comes the real carnival atmosphere and the newspaper can print of blood and guts. Eco’s position is semiotic because his hate of the football fan, is because the football fan refuses to believe you can be a non-football fan, and he (insistently ‘he’) keeps talking football to you as though you must be a fan. Somewhere, among these lines Trifonas posits the term ‘politically incorrect’. Eco uses ‘racism’ as a devise as he does use all his words; make room for whims!, blow air at least the size of footballs!: this is carnivalesque; circus; or, Eco’s ‘circenses’. Racism is how they feel (Lombard…): indeed is how they don’t feel; immigration is a regular occurrence in football, where they entertain the opposition, the enemy, the intruders, the challengers to their wonts. ––Their racism, a contradiction: this argument, becoming literal each time World Cup locates in Italy.
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Eco makes much of the position where the two converse, football anti-football, fan person, stating that the one who will not but talk football is not talking, not using language. He, citing theories, definitions to declare that talking like to no one, is not talking, it should involve a communication. Words should be used which inflict understanding in a hearer. He keeps referring to the “mono-genetic and mono-dimensional discourse” of the football fan.
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It isn’t that he doesn’t care a fig that I don’t give a fig. It’s that he can’t conceive that anyone could exist and not care a fig. He wouldn’t understand it even if I had three eyes and a pair of antennae emerging from the green scales of my nape. It is very possible, instead, that people do not talk to each other listen intently to accurately respond. Much English humour has been seen –– the Two Ronnies have done it –– where two talk an entire routine about completely unrelated things, even, each ending, thankfully acknowledging concurrence of the other. It is like hearing that writing is directed to an audience, when in experience the only audience is a multiplicity of you: the writer. A love letter is directed at someone, but even then, at a projection, strongly instructed to become what is insinuated –– assumed insinuated (herein, no doubt, the seeds of later discontent) –– between the lines. Loners know how to converse, alone: tell jokes that never fall flat. Two people can actually talk about exactly the same thing with one wondering at the other’s location.
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Eco’s anti football also leads to ‘recreational waste’, and, negated ‘sports talk’ and ‘sports chatter’. “Sports talk allows the speaker ‘to take positions, express opinions, suggest solutions.” It is known the item in question is “beyond the area of the speaker’s power.” There “is no fear of retribution.” The speaker can never intervene in the sporting activity where the game is played, nor has he any say in its “corridors of power”. Eco uses the binary, “simulations of reality and not empirical occurrences.” Sports chatter is sports talk when the talker actually assumes himself an athlete, unaware he is not partaking in the sports he is only discussing. The talk becomes confused with an illusion of having been there. It is a shared illusion produced for the masses and “perpetuated by sports talk shows” pumped alive “not by the sport itself but by the talk of sports and the reporting of it within the media.”
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Eco probably sees football peaked minaret high, with the regular shouting being not about Allah or his omnipotence. Eco does juxtapose sports chatter next to items of import: instead of.
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That phrase: ‘recreational waste’, elsewhere referred to as ‘waste of energy’, must mean it is wrongly channeled; like what was wasted when young –– now, yet wasted –– is, judging the job done by the Minister of Finance, you will ask about the job of the coach. Similarly, you will be discussing the record of athletes instead of that of Parliamentarians. Instead of asking, difficult questions about possible shady deals made with foreign governments, one would ask whether by “chance, by athletic prowess, or by diplomatic alchemy” a “final or decisive game will be decided”. Eco must have been addressing a particular audience, here; I see no problem with the choices a fan would make, given these alternatives, easily dealt with after before, rather than instead. no longer, the pool hall. It cannot be recreational waste, because it doubtlessly is recreational: even taking the spelling of the word, literally. The only way to ‘waste’ energy in football is to overtire oneself before the game, or run around pointlessly in the game: or run a marathon, the night before.
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Paradoxically, when you talk about waste, you talk about for nothing, which is close to for no reason: leading to pointlessly. Also, leading out of the market place and into purity, as numbers not applied to anything as dogs, cats, being purely
mathematics. That Eco proclaims himself anti-football is what makes one wonder where his images, signs would lead, were he not anti. Also is it seeable that footballers are statuesque numbers like in pure mathematics used, in the art of human sports, where the hallucination of mobility alone stops us seeing the stills each halted second exposes sixty times within each existential moment: sometimes some bits captured by the slow motion camera. In thinking, the clue is to be objective, ever being aware that it is subjective, the person, trying objectivity: one, is equally objective when indifferent. Being anti, announces counterparts. They do also call mathematicians, dreamers. Energy not wasted would be work, doing art & craft, procreational sex (intending to impregnate); most fitting within the first two categories: performance games, with the third.
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The article of Tampke, J: Politics Only?: Sport In The German Democratic Republic poses the question as to the reason why East Germany, is so advanced in sports: Australia’s yet “unimpressive” medal count to East Germany’s 46 gold medals?
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The Sydney Morning Herald said any inquiry as to how Australia could "keep up with the Joneses of international same population as Australia reverse of what is required; instead, it suggested that the Germans were drugged; were threatened with Siberia, if unsuccessful; were brainwashed. Such, says the article, was Australia’s reaction to East Germany’s success, instead of the 8.1 % of the annual budget, fed into sports. The Sydney Morning Herald said “sport should not be made a matter of national prestige.” “That can be left to East Germany and Russia”; they “State-financed, State-trained, State-directed.” The article says this was the response of the rest of the West, ten years before.
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As the Eastern Bloc was treated on a more friendly basis in the 60s, and East and West Germany decided to pursue each other’s common ground in the 70s, sports writers began to doubt the reasons given for East Germany’s successful sports. They said it could not only be money, because West Germany spends colossal amounts without as much success.
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As one read the article, one remembered Fraser talk, saw superdromes; saw Kathies win, adorn the flags; noted we won weightlifting, shooting, swimming, boating, hockey, volleyball…––with gold medals.
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The latter part of the article became positive toward East Germany. ––All this before unification. Countries were actually taking a leaf from their book, it says.
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What actually was the case, it said, was that their sports programme was a health programme. People who did sports were healthier and were less likely to get sick; therefore saving money on doctors and hospitals. This does work, because a few years ago, our dentists were becoming frantic in that all the grown-up children had perfect teeth. They made news of the fact that much of dentistry has to switch to cosmetic dentistry. Are there many more commercials advertising sweet and chocolates?
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There is news that the former South African cricket captain died in an airplane crash. They mention his dismissal, along with his death, each time. ––From the country’s team, that is, for accepting money. I would allow a player to accept any money at all as long as the playing is still up to standard. That he receives should only be one criterion when debating whether his playing merits his space in the dynamics of the ga

As _From_ the Journal of a Sportswriter.

juddarwin

Joined June 2009

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