Mark Chapman is a bit of a geezer. An intelligent, well-dressed impartial sports journalist, whose soft spoken tones have entered the ear of millions of football fans across Britain, & more recently across the Pond examining the NFL. When he’s not doing all of these things, he’s actually a full-blown & passionate family man, who has instilled in his children his own thrilling engagement with sport, which has recently manifested itself as ‘The Love of the Game.‘ So, in the middle of his hectic schedule, he took time on a Thursday to come & speak about his book to Glasgow’s Aye Write Festival, up in the airy & spacious Annan room of the Mitchell Library.
Chapman read two sections from his book, both about cricket, the first from the introduction when his son, Ben, was eight, & the second later in the book when Ben was representing Cheshire at county level (U-14s). A perfect & poignant way to get the gist & guts of the book, it shows Chapman’s undeniable ability with words, interlaced with a genuine sentiment we can all bond with. I also enjoyed the Douglas Adamsesque digressions – as when he gave a detailed account of cricket equipment – but I did at times I find Chapman’s writing a little to florid, a little too miniscule, to superfluously pretty in its description; I mean do we really need to know the entire meteorological happenings surrounding each ball in a six-ball over. However, when it comes to humanity, Chapman has an excellent eye, & it is for these moments I believe the incredibly honesty & authenticity of his book shall be remembered.
Reviewer : Damian Beeson Bullen