By Shane Thomas
For those who follow sport it can manifest itself in curious ways. There aren't many other - for want of a better word - industries where its followers not only think that their opinions carry weight, but also where those who make a living from sharing their thoughts are generally decried, despite the fact that they will have some expertise in the subject. If you snatch a few moments of any pub conversation about the World Cup in the next few weeks, listen to the authority in which the the various topics are discussed. Do these people have any specific qualifications to predict and pronounce? No, but sport can stir the passions in such a way that ego can sometimes supplant rationale & knowledge. If I'm honest, this blog is a clear example of my point.
Well for a change, I'm gong to hand over to those who bring more credence to sporting opinion than I do. I am a regular reader of 'The Times' newspaper. In my opinion, their sporting coverage is second to none. And there are some recent articles on there that I would like to share with you all.
One of their sports columnists, Matthew Syed, is about to release his first book on sport, Bounce: How Champions Are Made. Syed previously had a distinguished career as a table tennis player so he's been both poacher and gamekeeper, so to speak. Below are links to three extracts from the book. I found them fascinating, and can only hope that there is more of the same in the rest of the book. On the basis of the extracts I can highly recommend you give this a purchase. I've already reserved my copy.
Moving on to my journalist hero, Simon Barnes. In a recent blog post I lamented how certain members of the media, allayed with those who frequent the type of message boards that give them a bad name, seem to contribute to the negative opinion of football as a sport in this country. Below Mr Barnes astutely points out that no sport has a right to hold any kind of moral superiority over another.
This witch-hunt against football was illustrated by Oliver Kay, who chastised those who seek to besmirch big-name footballers for no justifiable reason. And credit to him for not focusing on the vile rumours spread by this sad excuse for a human being.
So that's how the professionals do it. Apart from anything else 'The Times' will soon be charging people to read their editions online, so enjoy these freebies while you can.
Don't forget to download 'The Greatest Events in Sporting History' Available at http://sportsevents.libsyn.com/