August 4, 2021

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And it's all because of Ali - Sports Book Review

And it’s all because of Ali – Sports Book Review

DrHis stories from a bygone era can’t really be expected from a contemporary person today. This author Oscar Beck’s sharp thesis should be taken on his own as pessimism about purpose. Sports journalist born in 1949 intoxicated with everything he saw, experienced, absorbed and felt, thus publishing it in his 50 years as a journalist.

He was not a crazy reporter, his texts are very convenient for that. His expeditions led to the stories behind the stories. Why was Johan Cruyff just a shadow of himself in the 1974 World Cup Final in Munich? Yes, Hans Hubert Vogts’ “terrier” was chasing after him, but it’s only half the story. No more will be revealed at this point. The personal record of those Beck dedicates himself to range from Andre Agassi to Zinedine Zidane.

But where is the minimum age for “Late Born”, as Beck addresses those who have had such notable names as Dieter Baumann, George Best, Hans Blickensdorfer, Jimmy Connors, Joachim Dekarem, Helmut Haller, Armin Harry, Ben Johnson, Billie Jean King, Rudolph Kritlin, Gustav “Bobby” Schulze or Mike Tyson could still do absolutely anything? That’s a promise: For those born too late, this is an entertaining journey through time and discovery, and for those of us who are nostalgic in the old classroom, it’s a re-encounter with the influence of aha.

Beck is someone who shows a clear advantage and formulates accordingly. Referee Gottfried Denst, who awarded the English a goal against Helmut Schön decades ago (goal or not?), is punished by Swabian who admitted he was an “atheist whistle”. Beck takes the toothpaste story from fellow countryman Bowman, in the tax case Ole Hoeness excels when he is imprisoned, pity rather than malice.


Oscar Beck: “And it’s all because of Ali.” Stories from 50 years of sports. Editions Debuts, Stuttgart 2021, hardcover, 432 pages, €29.
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Image: Publisher

By Beck’s admission he only reaches a linguistic limit when it comes to praising someone like Messi, when everything has already been said, but also everything. Beck’s treasure trove of quotes is a treasure trove, he retained his constant sympathy for daring genres and became a soft focus when sports, like fencer Matthias Behr, become the tragedy of his life. Or when Beck remembers Gertrude Ederel, who was the first woman to swim in the English Channel in August 1926 – she was first celebrated by the world, and then forgotten by the world.

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