The more traveling I do, the more wise I become (gerbie) wrote,
The more traveling I do, the more wise I become

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Hard Gras 20 (01-076)

Football is my sport, that won't come as a surprise. But my interest has gradually changed over the years. Whereas as a little boy I was curious to know a lot of players and teams, watch every possible match on television and hope to become a professional player myself, nowadays I play for fun and enjoyment at a reasonable low level (but still in the first team), I can't stand complete matches on tv anymore and am disgusted by the role money is playing in what used to be a beautiful game. But I still enjoy visiting matches, especially when I'm abroad. And apart from writing a lot, I read even more. I recently did a quick count and discovered that I own over 120 books on the game. From old children's books, via yearbooks, good biographies, crap autobiographies to real literature in which the game happens to play a big role.

Hard Gras is a serial magazine/book in the Netherlands. There is a new book every quarter, so four times a year one can read about football, though you'll never find the latest transfer rumours or game reports in Hard Gras. The publishers ask well known authors, often not known to be footy fans to produce a story, sometime of their choice, sometimes on a certain subject. Once a year the book is a special by one author, a real football book therefore. Never can one find predictable stories in there, never cheap articles. Stories about childhood memories of big name players, forgotten legends of the past, the game in strange countries and poetry about some of the most poetic figures to be found on the pitch. Subtitle of the series is 'Football magazine for readers'. It is well respected among the critics, even non-football fans do like to read it.

Number 20 is a special on outsiders. As in players who are a bit special. Rivaldo is on the cover, his story and background is told by a Dutch journalist who lives permanently in Barcelona. Other stories include the odysee of Peter van Vossen, the Parisian clochard who should have been a huge star on the pitch and an interesting story about a war orphan who became one of the first Dutch professional players, he went abroad when at home players were still amateurs.

I have missed nearly two years of reading, so there are still a few numbers of Hard Gras waiting for me. Lucky me.

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