The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.

We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.

Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.

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The Run of Play Needs Your Help

Semaphores through the ages.

One of our projects for the off-season—partly as a response to Andy Bull’s terrific critique of contemporary sports media, partly as something we’ve been thinking about on our own—is to put together a Dictionary of Generic Narrative in Sports Journalism, which will catalog the master narratives that are repeated over and over again in modern sportswriting. You’ve surely experienced the slightly dizzying feeling of familiarity upon beginning a profile or a match report, as though, having only just started it, you already remember how it ends. We want to make a list of the templates, from “Player X Backs Player Y” to “Redemption Through Adversity,” that make that feeling thrive.

We know, however, that you’re a savvy reader in your own right, and we’d like to enlist your help. If you come across an article that seems generic in any way, send it along, or send a brief description, or send a made-up name for a genre you’ve encountered, and we’ll try to fit it in the lexicon. You’ll be credited, and the finished list will have a permanent home in the sidebar, where your name will live forever at the head of a latter-day Dictionary of Received Ideas. Progress reports will be given. Stand up for your mind.

Thoughts and contributions to tips@runofplay.com.

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The Run of Play Needs Your Help

by Brian Phillips · May 15, 2008

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