Sporting Slip-Ups and Goalmouth Gaffes

Sport should be fun, even when it�s being taken deadly seriously. In fact, that�s when it�s the most fun, because it�s when the deadly serious get their comeuppance or their pride bubble is burst that we tend to laugh the most. We�ve all had that sense of �schadenfreude� when a sportsman who�s been doing so well throws it all away on the last hole, penalty shot, ball, last furlong, or the last lap.

Not all the stories in our collection feature such mishaps, but there are plenty that do. Some reveal plain stupidity, some bad luck. Some are funny, others just interesting in a quirky sort of way. �Sporting Slip-Ups and Goalmouth Gaffes� takes a light-hearted look at things that have gone wrong in the world of sport; a collection of events that might otherwise be forgotten.

We have found stories in a variety of ways � trawling through books and records, surfing the Internet, talking to sporting friends, reading newspapers and magazines � and have enjoyed bringing to you some of the wackier moments of sport, such as when the autograph-signing famous golfer found himself pushed into the lake by adoring fans; when the US president�s golf ball hit a woman spectator between the eyes, shattering her glasses; when a famous racing driver pulled down an awning onto his boss�s head because he had forgotten to unhook the air line as he set off for the starting grid, and the story of the football team that ended the season with minus one point.

Our collection of stories spans three centuries, featuring some celebrated tales, and some not so well known, from the nineteenth century through to the present day. We hope you will find them as entertaining and amusing as we do.

(Stephen Blake and Andrew John, April 2002).

If you�ve ever missed an open net or scored an own goal in a game of football, stepped on your wicket or run out a team-mate during a cricket match, tackled one of your own players or even the referee in a game of rugby, your sympathy for the plight of the homeless cases described in this compilation will be heartfelt and true.

Buried deep in the annals of blunder history are tales of spectacular sporting stupidity:

Competing in trials for the 1968 Olympic Games, US hurdler Boyd Gittins blamed his failure to qualify on a pigeon dropping that had hit him in the eye. He claimed it had caused one of his contact lenses to become dislodged as he was about to take the first hurdle�

During a game of rugby, Dick Dover scooped a loose ball as he broke away from the scrum, dashed 75 yards with it and touched down for a try. Thinking it strange that no one had challenged him en route, he realized he had placed the ball uder the posts of his own team, having become disoriented while in the scrum and run the wrong way�

�Sporting Slip-Ups and Goalmouth Gaffes� takes an entertaining look at the history of embarrassing moments in the world of sport, allowing us amateurs to take delights in the hilarious hiccups experienced by a great many so-called professionl sportsmen and women through the decades.