The World is a Ball

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The World is a Ball, John Doyle

John Doyle’s The World is a Ball recaps the journalist’s experiences during the World Cups of 2002, 2006, and 2010 and also the European Championships of 2004 and 2008.  His take on these events is a mixture of match reports, match day atmosphere and personal philosophy, and this point of view created a quite entertaining, informative and thought provoking look back at these tournaments.

Reading the author’s memories of the games made me want to search out the highlights of these matches and tournaments because he was adding an additional layer of context that went beyond the mere result.  While key points of the match were addressed, Doyle shared the build up to the game, the moment of tension, and the hours after, and sometimes elaborated on the impact that echoed days, months and even years after.

He also shared some very personal memories in and around the venues as he interacted with supporters of countries from all over the world.  Despite the possible conflict on the field, fans inevitably shared in the unifying aspects of the game.  Doyle also allowed readers access into the life of a journalist, from the grinding travel schedules to getting credentials to dealing with letting emotion seep into coverage.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable book about the game and, more importantly, the ambiance that is created around major tournaments.  His accounts in the stadiums, amongst the swirling madness on the ground, and en route to and from Canada were enjoyable and made me re-think how I write.

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