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The Autocrat’s Guide To World Cup Qualification

The Autocrat’s Guide To World Cup Qualification

IT’S HARD to overstate the importance of football in the Arab world; it is undoubtedly the number one sport and matter of national pride. Arab leaders have historically taken a keen interest in the...

Ghost Race

Ghost Race

SPORTS, psychologists have long understood, are like languages. If exposed as children we acquire native fluency, and the laborious, complex movements required for swimming or ice-skating or horseback...

World Cup Diary: Losing Brazil 2014 to the Future

World Cup Diary: Losing Brazil 2014 to the Future

THE WORLD CUP starts today, in the country that made football beautiful. We should thus be preparing for a carnival of passes and goals, a festival of chance. I fear, however, that some of our atte...

It’s Just Like Watching Brazil

It’s Just Like Watching Brazil

SUCCESS AND FAILURE on the football pitch has been a decisive element in Brazil's recent history. Perhaps no country's identity is as connected with the beautiful game. This uniquely deep and fraught ...

The Young Man and the Sea

The Young Man and the Sea

JUSTIN HOCKING’S DEBUT memoir, The Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld, could have been about a young man who was robbed at gunpoint, losing the laptop that contained his novel (which he hadn’t ba...

You Had to Like It: Rereading Red Smith

You Had to Like It: Rereading Red Smith

“ENGLAND'S BIGGEST TRACK MEET in 40 years opened this afternoon with a pageant of nationalism, an orgy of oratory and a paroxysm of symbolism but no running, jumping or bulging of the biceps.” Tha...

This Fan’s Notes: A Football Elegy

This Fan’s Notes: A Football Elegy

Len Dawson, during halftime of the first Super Bowl; January 15, 1967 (credit: Bill Ray) MY FIRST AND ONLY football injury left me unable to breathe. It was a late October Sunday and we had to stay ...

Fight to the Death: Who Killed Davey Moore?

Fight to the Death: Who Killed Davey Moore?

ON MARCH 21, 1963, two boxers entered Dodger Stadium to fight for the featherweight championship of the world. Davey Moore, the champ, had held the title for four years. Many considered him to be the...

Leaving the Field: On Giving Up Fiction For Good

Leaving the Field: On Giving Up Fiction For Good

image: Steve Blass, World Series 1971 HOW DOES A WRITER know when it is time to hang it up? Last July, Philip Roth, the author of 26 novels and one collection of short stories, told a French...