Thursday, December 16, 2004

Writing on Sports

Not long ago, during my last trip to London, there was a contest in an English newspaper to select the best introduction to a sports story in modern times.

If you write about sports, you know the introduction is the hardest part. Once you are over that first sentence, normally the rest follows just naturally. It follows that the best examples are worth cherishing.

Anyway, the result was a dead heat. First, there was Peter Byrne, of the Irish Times, who wrote from the 1976 Montreal Olympics: ‘It was a memorable evening for Irish swimming here in the Olympic Pool. Nobody drowned.’

The other was Frank Keating of The Guardian, whose preview of the first big fight he ever covered began: ‘Tonight in the Boxhalle, Munich, Muhammad Ali, if the United States of America and The Universe, will fight Richard Dunn, of 23 Railway Cuttings, Bradford, West Yorkshire.’

Feels like you were there, doesn’t it?