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A sporting conservative

By turns rhetorical, chatty and argumentative, Ed Smith's musings on sport are united by a gentle conservatism. And much of what the Middlesex cricket captain says makes perfect sense

By David Goldblatt   March 2008

What Sport Tells us About Life: Bradman’s Average, Zidane’s Kiss and Other Sporting Lessons, by Ed Smith

(Viking, £14.99)

Before Ed Smith can get to his chosen question—”What can sport tell us about life?”—he finds that another one rears its head: “What can sports writing tell us about sport?” Of course, much sports writing is simply reportage. It tells us what happened, who won, who lost and by how much. Smith, rightly, aims higher than this, but in doing so he recognises two problems that sports writers face. First, sports writing, like literary criticism, is an essentially parasitic activity. The…

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