The joy of a good yarn

I love that my work as a ghostwriter gives me the opportunity to help people get their stories told. What I love even more is the fact that working on other people's stories gives me a front-row seat to those yarns.

Take Around the Grounds, for instance – a book that will be released by Finch Publishing on August 1.

For this book I've been working with former ABC radio broadcaster Peter Newlinds. Peter's story is a celebration of sport, but from the spectator's side of the fence. This perspective gives the story a level of accessibility that most sporting memoirs, written as they are by former players, can't have. Few of us have the ability to play elite sport, but all of us are more than capable of joining in from the relative safety of the stands.

Of course we don't all have access to the commentary box as Peter did, though I suspect any of us who enjoy our sport have harboured fantasies of being a sports caller. Peter's yarn reveals a host of insights into the broadcaster's world – including his entry into that world – which offer numerous surprises.

Peter is about my own age so an extra special part of helping to tell his story has been that I can remember many of the incidents he describes. Take John Dyson's catch – no cricket fan needs any further description – which Peter watched as a teenager from inside the old SCG scoreboard where he was working at the time.

As Peter and I started working on the book we realised that a nostalgic look at sport in an era when it was less polished and precise than today, but no less engrossing, was a big part of what we wanted to share with the book's readers.

In describing his experiences across the numerous sports that Peter covered – including Aussie Rules, Rugby League, soccer, tennis, the Sydney Hobart and lots and lots of cricket – he also celebrates many of the memorable colleagues he worked with, all of whom are also familiar names, and voices, to those of us who followed sport from the seventies onwards.

In the telling of his story, Peter's passion for sport, for the people in and around sport, for the real people behind the public faces and for the emotions and nostalgia that sport elicits in its fans all shine through. It helped me watch the recent World Cup with fresh eyes, realising the extent to which that contest is about so much more than the game on the pitch, so much about the people in the stands and in front of televisions literally all over the world.

It's so easy to dismiss sport as nothing more than a pastime. Peter reminds us why, for so many, it is so much more than that.

It's been such a privilege to play a part in bringing Peter's story to life on the page. Here's hoping it finds its way to the readership it deserves.

Around the Grounds will be available in bookstores from August 1, and can already be pre-ordered from many online stores. Ahead of the book's release, Peter has been writing some interesting blog posts here.

Photo by Tom Grimbert on

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