Having spent many years working in and around the media including a stint with a large, metropolitan newspaper, one thing that I have learned is that many of the best writers end up working in the sports section. Sports writers bring the best mix of skills; they balance the basics of reporting skills, with the ability to take readers inside the game by painting vivid pictures with their words. They are blessed to cover folks who often possess larger than life personalities and there is a sense that every game is an event and if history is a yardstick, events are what make the most memorable news of our lifetime.
British sports writer, Duncan Hamilton, is one of those gifted scribes and he has a raft of awards to prove it. While Hamilton’s latest book, For the Glory: Eric Liddell’s Journey from Olympic Champion to Modern Martyr, tells, what to many will be a familiar story, it is his ability to craft stories, while at once loaded with significant detail, are still wrapped in flowing prose that will grip your attention.
While some might shrug off the story as a continuation of the Academy Award winning film, Chariots of Fire, it is so much more than that. In a day and age when sports has become such a predominant part of our culture and society as a whole and athletes are revered and deified, while often parading their worst behaviors on the field and the sports pages, Liddell’s is a story begs to be told. It is practically unimaginable that any of today pampered athletes would make the kind of choices and personal sacrifices that are the cornerstone of Liddell’s story.
Like many stories of true heroes, I sense that Liddell would be more than a little uncomfortable with talk of martyrdom and heroism. He was a man of sacrifice and of principle that has no comparison the modern sports world and Hamilton does a marvelous job of capturing not only the details of the story, but the proper tenor and tone to match the tale. Hamilton’s ability to transport the reader and place them in the midst of the story is unmatched.