Sporting Lives is collection of short papers on the lives of men and women connected with the sporting world has its origins in a Sporting Lives symposium hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University’s Institute for Performance Research in December 2010. The contributors come from different backgrounds and include some of Britain’s leading sports historians. The one thing they all have in common is an interest in sporting biography and an in-depth knowledge of at least one individual’s life course.
The work opens with a chapter from John Bale that outlines the career of sport scientist Ernst Jokl and explores the difficulty in writing biography especially given the many ‘layers of truth’ that permeate an individual’s narrative. This theme is evident in subsequent chapters on equestrienne Pat Smythe (Jean Willliams), the fictional athlete Alf Tupper (Jeffrey Hill), footballers The Reverend Hunt (Dilwyn Porter) and Patrick O’Connell (Robin Peake), football manager Frank Buckley (Neil Carter), athletics coach Alec Nelson (Ian Stone), swimmer Joey Nuttall (Keith Myerscough), Olympic innovator John Hulley (Ray Hulley), pedestrian entrepreneur George Martin (Samantha-Jayne Oldfield), and eighteenth century boxing entrepreneurs (Dave Day).
Taken together these papers highlight the richness and diversity of sporting lives as well as demonstrating that these stories can never be entirely finished but will continue to evolve as further sources are uncovered.