Get Her Off the Pitch, By Lynne Truss

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The Independent Culture

What with the World Cup and Wimbledon, the publishing of Lynne Truss's account of belonging to that highly unusual species, the female sports writer, couldn't have been better timed. Although she knew next to nothing about sport, and wasn't interested, her employers at The Times decided that this would be her unique selling point, and packed her off to spend the 1990s at freezing football grounds, by the side of New York boxing rings or on the trail of touring cricket teams.

Being a woman in the business didn't make a feminist of Truss, but she does take a pop at a profession that tends to exclude women from the important stuff on the grounds that they don't play football themselves (but, oh yes, they do), or cricket (again, yes they do): "Is it a job for a man? I mean, it's not like going down a mine."

What does emerge, in spite of the "insidious misogyny" of the profession, is Truss's respect for those foot-soldiers who navigate their way around grounds and stadia without any help: the world of sport, she argues, seems to think that journalists owe it something, not the other way round.

As sharp and amusing as readers of Truss's work have come to expect.

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