Andy Miller is a sports atheist. The beautiful game, the roar of the crowd, winning, losing, taking part - these mean nothing to him. But at 30 he is worried. He thinks he's turning into a bit of a crank. So he decides that he must try to love sport - and just maybe it will love him back. He shivers for a season in the stands at QPR, braves the queues at Wimbledon, stays (reasonably) sober at the boat race and gets his money's worth at a WWF event. But to really show his commitment, he takes up the one sport now dear to his heart - crazy golf. Dreaming of putting glory, he heads for Europe and the international circuit. No one can accuse him of being a crank now.
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Tilting at Windmills is the comic odyssey of a meek geek who tries to become one with the sporting life. Journalist Andy Miller is a lifelong sport-phobic who finds himself in a Britain obsessed with the stuff--from the school playing field to the various "hallowed turfs", the seemingly pointless doings have everyone around him mesmerised--and Miller decides to find out why.
A stuttering but almost successful attempt to become a QPR fan, gives way to bold stabs at embracing the totems of British sport--The Open, The Boat Race, Wimbledon--with Miller bent on breaking the "code" that allows others to find passion, drama and fun, where he finds only bad catering, yobs and stupefying boredom.
The investigation is punctuated by the ongoing story of his own endeavours in top-flight international sporting competition, as Miller finds himself drawn to the painted windmills and baffling geometry of crazy golf, pursuing his new passion around the seaside towns of Britain and onwards to European Championships, in Latvia (where he is billed by no less an organ than the Baltic Times as "the Eddie the Eagle of miniature golf").
Miller is the witty, acutely self-conscious traveller at the heart of his own story, but nevertheless pursues serious lines of enquiry into the self-deception and surrender to tribalism that characterise the sports fan, and what underpins his own long-standing resistance to "joining in". No major revelations here, but this is a light, entertaining read that could have even the most unsporty types thinking about grabbing a putter. --Alex HankinReview:
"A heck of a lot of fun ... made me laugh out loud ... Miller may be "anti-skilled" at sport but he sure can write." -- Andrew Martin, Sunday Express
"Brilliantly funny. Not to be missed" -- Sportspages
"It's a hilarious premise, superbly executed by an accomplished comic writer." -- Matt Seaton, Esquire
"One of the signature pieces of modern sports writing, shot through with an eye for comic detail worthy of the young Evelyn Waugh" -- Michael Bracewell, the Observer
"The bravest man in Britain" -- Martha Kearney, Woman's Hour, Radio 4
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