Book review: Get Her Off The Pitch by Lynne Truss
Lynne Truss, a self confessed ignoramus about all things sport related is turned loose in the world of sports writing to brilliant comic effect.
Reading this book might encourage sports enthusiasts to develop a smiden of perspective; then again it might not
You can imagine what her editor was thinking when he assigned Lynne Truss, a journalist with an intimate knowledge of how to use a semi colon and no idea at all about the offside rule, to cover the 1996 European Championships. The fish out of water is a comic staple guaranteed to bring a little colour to the often too serious for their own good sports pages.
Actually it was an even better idea than that; in fact it was a stroke of brilliance. Lynne Truss has written one of the funniest most profound books about sport ever published. All this whilst not always knowing where she was or what was happening on the pitch or the court or wherever that everyone else thought was so important.
Using her position as an outsider to brilliant advantage Truss throws light onto the inner workings of the world of sport, showing up the staggering self importance of its administrators, the awfulness of many of her colleagues in the press box and the near impossibility of getting a decent meal or a safe place to park at even the most prestigious sporting events.
Despite being bemused by many of its rituals, Truss discovers, much to her surprise the powerful attraction of sport, the way it can provide moments of sublime artistry amidst the mud and the endless, mostly meaningless statistics. Sportsmen and women, Truss discovers aren’t automatons with sponsorship deals, they’re human beings with virtues and failings that are revealed by the games they’ve chosen to play for a living.
This book is also does much to shine a light into the stressful, uncomfortable and often underappreciated world of the sports writer. Football fans who spend their Saturdays being overcharged and bossed about by officials at Premiership grounds around the UK can take comfort from the fact that things are no better for the media, only with the added problem for the put upon sports writer of having to write five hundred words by half time about a match where the score and underlying narrative are liable to change at a moments notice.
Sports fans should read this book because it might encourage them to develop a smidgen of perspective, something Truss rapidly discovered is frequently lacking amongst the sporting fraternity, about their chosen pastime. However important it may seem football, golf or any other sport is still only a game, if they stopped playing it tomorrow the world would go on turning like always. They should also read it because it is funny, touching and splendidly honest about the games people play, or more often pay to watch someone else play.