You Didn’t Know This – Mille Miglia

Here’s a new series – You Didn’t Know This – in sports.

To start with  – motor racing. Mille Miglia. Here’a another read, and here’s an excerpt below.

…..They would stage a road race (on terrible roads) all the way to Rome and back. A loop of a little more than half of Italy. Everything was -issimo from the very first running the following year. Hundreds of cars. 1,600km of twists and turns. Closed roads. In the dark and in the rain. Stopping only for fuel. The race openly evoked the nation at its grandest, hence the Roman measurement: the Thousand Miles, the Mille Miglia. The Fascists loved it. Mussolini entered a car. His son, Vittorio, hauled himself round in a Fiat 1500 coupé.

Where’s the sport?

IPL bores the life out of me.

EPL is not working out this season. Arsenal’s piss poor. Chelsea’s a little more piss poor. United’s a little less piss poor.

The Champion’s League is ‘only Barcelona’. I watch the matches, but with a devout dispassion.

The Masters’ was no fun.

Solis tripped and fell.

There are no grand slams happening now in tennis.

I have stopped watching F1 a while back – nobody to love with a passion – Senna. Nobody to hate with a passion – Schumacher. Nobody to follow with a passion, love or hate – Alonso (who is there but not quite).

Probably the world cup win took too much out of me.

Champion / Legend

A Senna needs a Prost. A Bird needs a Magic. An Ali needs a Frazier. A Nadal a Federer. A Diego a Matthaus. A Zidane a Ronaldo. Even a Jordan needs a Malone.

Schumacher had his car. His technicians, his marquee brandname team. His my-dad-who-will-beat-up-your-dad. Little competition. And a singular lack of fun.

And that last bit is critical.

Champion yes. Legend no.

Ali, Pele, Lillee and Me – Brian Viner

Ali, Pele, Lillee and Me: A Personal Odyssey Through the Sporting Seventies, by Brian Viner, is an absolutely delightful book. I loved it, and may write a long review of it soon.

Here’s a funny line from this book:

……….I should also admit to being very fond of the question: which four Formula One drivers share or shared their first names or surnames with places in Scotland, the answer of course being Stirling Moss, Johnny Dumfries, Eddie Irvine and Ayr Town Center.

Read it, if you were one of those kids who stayed late at night watching Becker win against Anders Jarryd and Kevin Curran at Wimbledon, or still reminisce Azharuddin’s magical entry to test cricket, or the even more magical Mexico ’86 World Cup.