Bad sports, from the ancient Greeks to the present

Sports history, writes Wray Vamplew, is sometimes ‘sentimental, reactionary and built on the implicit assumption that the sporting past was a better place in which to play games. It wasn’t.’ His own account — the fruit ofa career’s work — is so shapeless that it often reads like the encyclopaedia that he claims he didn’t want to write. The emeritus professor of sports history at the University of Stirling hasn’t managed to assemble his own narrative. But if there is one to be extracted from Games People Played, it’s this: contrary to popular opinion, we may be living in sport’s golden age. Perhaps the best bits of the book are