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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Mart Smeets - Murfreesboro blues (01-080)

Smeets is the most famous Dutch sports journalist. He used to be a basketball player, made the Dutch team, nowadays he is a workaholic. He presents the biggest sports show in the Netherlands, makes documentaries for the programme on important foreign sportsmen, does commentary for important events like all big cycling events, including the Tour de France, speed skating, NBA finals amongst other things. Apart from that he writes columns in several magazines and papers, presents a radio show with his favourite music and writes books.

Most of his books are a collection of his best stories and columns, though he has written some novels, all set in the world of international sports. I am a big fan of his writing. Everytime I bump into a column or story of him in papers and magazines, I cut it and put it on file, I have done so for over a decade, even stealing his monthly story from the magazine in the trains. His style is easy going, he has an eye for detail, is a sports fanatic, but can look beyond the narrow boundaries of sports. He likes the exact same sports as I do (baseball, cycling, basketball, speed skating and a bit of soccer) and is knowledgeable about them all.

He must have influenced me when I started writing. Not deliberately, but subconsciencely I guess his style works for me as well. Someone, who didn't know I was such a big fan, compared my style to his once. I took it as a compliment. This book is about himself and his son, who is playing baseball for a small university in Tennessee. He visits his son whenever he can, goes shopping with him, doing the same I do whenever I can: spending a lot of time and money in giant book stores in the states on statistical books that could only be produced in the US, while his son is always looking for exclusive and historical baseball video's. They watch NBA and MLB games on TV at the same time, though worlds apart, communicating over the phone. It is a touching story about the man and his son growing up, with lots of sports mingled in-between it. I do not think it will ever be translated, Smeets is way too Dutch to get a public anywhere else. He is an expert on American sports, though the sportsmen he knows best (Armstrong, Heiden) excel in sports the US doesn't care about. His production is huge though, a book a year at least, I've got them all on the shelves, apart from the last one, which I will buy soon.
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