請至親在終點等你一回

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正在看這篇的閣下也許已經在跑步賽場上身經百戰。然而,當中有沒有哪場是父母在終點等你衝線?

幸運地,我試過,就是在幾年前相傳有人誤吃肥皂的那屆清遠馬拉松。選擇到這個廣東城市跑,很大程度是因為家父在此上班,賽前賽後可得到他照應。那年三月的廣東北部,濕熱非常。到最後十公里,疏於練習的我早已爆掉。五個多小時捱著回到終點,完全沒好面色,衝線後只想快點洗澡及吃頓好的。

歲月如飛,現在想來,比賽一場復一場,有親人在終點等候的,至今還是只有清遠這次。世事就是這樣,往往要經歷多了,才知道有些事情不是理所當然。

即使強如臺灣超馬好手陳彥博,踏盡天涯路,獎項奪無數,但這一切都比不上父母在終點的等待。

睽違三載,陳彥博於去年底終於再出版新作《出發》,談的是四大極地超馬經歷。早前香港越野精英黃浩聰拿下總冠軍的,正是這個系列賽。披閱圖文並茂的《出發》,讀者得以管窺這個賽事的艱辛。一如陳彥博之前的三部著作,讀後足以使人對極地超馬理解加深。

然而在我看來,陳彥博著作的價值並不在客觀的情況描述,而是在主觀的情感抒發。讀其舊作,最使我動容的往往是他字裡行間流露出對目標的堅持,對自然的愛護,對寵物的眷戀。今次這部《出發》,他寫出的是父母之情。

不像張嘉哲那樣,父親「張叔叔」也是跑步好手,陳爸陳媽就像許多尋常父母,難以明白兒子為甚麼那樣愛跑,甚至愛得想把它當成人生志業。

可以想像,陳彥博心中的志業,對父母而言只是不務正業。曾幾何時,陳彥博尚未跑出成績,陳爸陳媽每遇到親朋對兒子的關心,從來只有支吾以對。

「彥博在幹甚麼工作?」
「與體育產業有關的那些吧……」

孔子說:「父母在,不遠遊。遊必有方。」儘管「有方」,但陳彥博每次出游總是不只遠,還要險。在《出發》的開頭,陳彥博就憶述自己整裝待發之際,偶然在家與父母聽到新聞,說他即將前往的非洲國家正受伊波拉病毒肆虐。試問有這樣喜歡冒險的一個兒子,父母又怎會不擔心?

陳爸陳媽曾經都像許多父母一樣,希望兒子「走回正途」。在他們心中,跑步說到底就是業餘興趣而已。跑步跑得好?不錯,跑夠了的話,請做回正事。

陳彥博自言,等待父母的認可已等了十九年。在《出發》中,我看到陳爸陳媽遠赴戈壁去看兒子衝線。相信對陳彥博來說,那刻甚麼獎金獎品也勝不過父母殷殷期盼的一雙身影。終點線上的親人相擁,終究解開了彼此間的多年心結。險阻歷盡,望眼欲穿,戈壁黃沙雖然荒蠻,但我們在紙上看到人間有情。

如果有機會的話,不妨嘗試請至親在終點等你一回。

《乒乓》

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《乒乓》
作者:松本大洋
出版社:大塊文化

「天份這東西,不是你想要就有的。」

四月對於乒乓球壇可說是重要月份——首先是亞洲盃於月初在日本橫濱拉開序幕,然後在月尾更有兩年一度的世錦賽於匈牙利布達佩斯上演,中日兩大乒乓強國勢必展開一番龍爭虎鬥。

中日兩國在乒壇相遇,在漫畫世界裡也有描述。今次要介紹的,是松本大洋的日本漫畫《乒乓》。坊間一直對這本漫畫評價甚高,所以即使是二十多年前的作品,也一直為人所談論。2002年曾被改編及拍製成真人電影,後來在2014年更有動畫版推出。

《乒乓》以片瀨高校乒乓球隊兩位性格迥異的一年級生為主軸,兩大主角一個自負囂張,一個沉默寡言,但都是年紀輕輕的乒乓好手。沒多久,他們就遇上了遭中國國家隊革離,後來轉戰日本的少年好手孔文革(名字明顯取自中國名宿孔令輝及馬文革)。連同幾所高校球隊的精英,故事就在他們奮力備戰全國大賽中展開。

松本大洋最為本地漫畫迷熟悉的作品應該是《惡童》,其實他的出道作品《Straight》也是以棒球為題材的體育漫畫。相傳他為了畫《乒乓》,親自走訪全國大賽,而且向專業人士請教乒乓球專業知識。日本漫畫家資料搜集之態度認真,又見一例。

《乒乓》所畫的線條軟綿,並非大眾路線,說不定有人會覺得「畫得不美」。但無可否認,松本大洋畫風獨特,令人印象深刻。以體育漫畫來說,仍屬一部不容錯過的經典著作。

Ping Pong
Author: Taiyō Matsumoto
Publisher: Locus Publishing

‘Talent is something that can be discovered but not sought.’

April is a crucial month for table tennis – The Asian Cup will kick off in Yokohama, Japan at the beginning of this month, and the biennial World Championships will be staged in Budapest, Hungary, in late April. The two table tennis superpowers, China and Japan, are bound to end up in fierce competition.

The table tennis encounters between China and Japan are described in manga form as well. In this issue, we’re going to introduce Ping Pong by Taiyō Matsumoto, a highly rated Japanese manga that people still talk about some 20 years after it was first published. In 2002, it was adapted into a live-action film followed by an anime series produced subsequently in 2014.

Ping Pong focuses on two talented year-one students with drastically different personalities, who are members of the table tennis club at Katase High School. One of the main characters is cocky and loud while the other is reserved and quiet. They eventually encounter a young player named Kong Wenge (apparently adapted from renowned Chinese players Kong Linghui and Ma Wenge), who was kicked off the Chinese national team and then moved to Japan. The story begins as the characters prepare for the national championships together with elite players from several other high school teams.

Among Hong Kong fans, Tekkonkinkreet is Taiyō Matsumoto’s most popular manga. His debut work Straight is also a sports manga focusing on baseball. According to sources, Matsumoto personally visited national championship tournaments and sought professional advice and expertise from table tennis pros in order to produce Ping Pong. This is yet another example demonstrating the conscientiousness of Japanese manga artists in information collection and research.

Ping Pong’s soft drawing style is not particularly mainstream and some people may even think that this manga is not appealing to the eye, but there is no denying that Taiyō Matsumoto’s drawing style is unique and impressive. This work is still a sports manga classic not to be missed.

博彩公司與你咬文嚼字

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一年過去,除了大事回顧,也是許多榜單出爐的時候。例如,年度十大好書、十大電影之類。

有沒有十大體育好書呢?答案是有的,不過似乎只是西方傳媒有這樣的選舉,在網上我暫時仍未搜到有華文媒體做類似的事。

在英國,老牌媒體如《每日電訊報》、《泰晤士報》、《金融時報》等都有年度體育好書榜。除此以外,由博彩公司威廉希爾贊助的年度體育好書榜已有三十年歷史。在體育文學領域中,能成為威廉希爾年度體育好書實屬莫大的榮耀。

2018年的獎項得主首度出現雙胞胎——The Lost Soul of Eamonn Magee與A Boy in the Water同得殊榮。前者刻劃了愛爾蘭拳手Eamonn Magee被受爭議的前半生,後者則記載泳手Tom Gregory於1988年以十一歲稚齡成為最年輕泳渡英倫海峽者的傳奇事跡。

那麼歷年以來,威廉希爾的三十一本年度好書中,有沒有關於長跑的呢?遺憾地,答案是沒有。僅得2002年的In Black and White: The Untold Story of Joe Louis and Jesse Owens,因為以傳奇田徑運動員歐文斯為題材,才算與跑步沾上了邊。

由於威廉希爾獎項地位崇高,書籍獲得評審青睞,入圍「決選名單」(shortlist)其實已經是一項難得成就,值得書商把書籍再版時把消息標示於封面昭告天下了。如果看近幾屆決選名單的話,其實在2016年有本長跑運動員傳記入選,那就是Endurance: The Extraordinary Life and Times of Emil Zátopek。

捷克長跑名宿沙道柏一生傳奇,值得記載的故事太多,單是在2016這奧運年已有三本沙道柏傳記出版,入圍的Endurance正是其中之一。與其他沙道柏傳記相比,Endurance其中一個特別之處,在於作者Rick Broadbent擅於描繪沙道柏身邊人物,以側面形式呈現這位跑手的一生。

沙道柏在1952年赫爾辛基奧運一口氣拿下5000、10000公尺以及馬拉松的金牌,紀錄至今無人可及。在2013年,他更被Runner’s World選為歷代最偉大跑手。如此成就,說他是「長跑之神」也不為過。身為長跑界代表,他的傳記難得能入威廉希爾獎評審法眼,也是不足為奇了。

最常翻的幾本訓練方法書

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長跑訓練這回事,有教練指導很重要。好的教練,除了為你訂課表、觀跑姿,更可旁觀者清地為你解開長期作戰當中的心結。

但除此以外,我和蝦嫂還習慣了看書研究。自己天天在做的事情,不想盲從,總想知道背後的原理。也想知道外面的訓練方法,與自己在做的有甚麼不同。

跑步書,買得滿屋都是,三四十本應該少不了。但當中,我們翻得最多還是幾本談訓練方法的書。既然不時有人就此相詢,我不妨趁機介紹一下。

一、Hansons Marathon Method, Luke Humphrey and Kevin Hanson

這書其實已出版逾廿載,一直廣受歡迎,故屢次再版。這訓練法不像現今的科學化訓練那樣強調心率,反而他們主張跑者看配速。跑者可因應自己的情況,找出適合自己的課表。聽聞本地不少高手其實都有參考這套訓練法得到躍進。

二、徐國峰、羅譽寅《體能!技術!肌力!心志!全方位的馬拉松科學化訓練》

書名正好道出了兩位作者所認為的馬拉松訓練四大重要部份。這書集羅曼諾夫姿勢跑法與丹尼爾跑步理論之大成,將這些外國跑步訓練法演繹得更適合中文讀者。除了飲食及裝備沒有太多提及外,此書算是十分全面地討論了馬拉松備戰以至出賽的各方面。

三、The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing, Philip Maffetone

低心率訓練,該是多低?根據Philip Maffetone的理論,就該是180減閣下年齡——就是說,假如你40歲,慢跑時就不要超過140心率。這是否準確,真的人人不同。這書作者長年研究低心率訓練,以無數真實案例闡釋了其理論如何協助運動員表現躍進。

其實這三本書都很值得分別一談,不過礙於篇幅,就只能介紹到這裡。上述兩本英文書,都有中文譯本。我讀過(三),譯得不錯,但側聞(一)的中文版好像部分內容缺了。所以能力所及的話,還是讀原文好。

《敗者為王》

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《敗者為王》
作者:李宗偉
出版社:布咕

「維持這個排名,是我必須每天清晨五點起床,周而復始地以汗水和淚水一點一滴積累而成。」

「身為運動員永遠要記得,你的對手絕對不會停下腳步,訓練一刻都不容許鬆懈。」

2016奧運羽毛球男單決賽,中國諶龍對馬來西亞李宗偉的情況仍歷歷在目,轉瞬間下屆東京奧運於明年夏天又到,賽季即將進入奧運計分階段,對世界頂尖羽球手來說,欲爭取一張入場券的自然要打醒精神。

馬來西亞羽球王李宗偉去年公開宣佈自己罹患鼻咽癌,至今雖已康復,但這位三屆奧運男單銀牌得主現已屆三十六歲,明年奧運大有可能是他的最後一屆,然而是否有機會參戰仍屬未知數,倘若其奧運之路就此謝幕,難免叫人為之黯然。

翻查資料,李宗偉奪冠無數,而且職業生涯雄踞世界排名第一位置累計長達350周,是前無古人的記錄。然而,除了奧運之外,在眾多羽球大賽如世錦賽、湯姆斯盃、蘇迪曼盃及亞運等,他同樣偏偏從未得過冠軍。因此「無冕球手」之名不脛而走,他於2012年出版的自傳叫《敗者為王》,也不無點點自嘲意味。

李宗偉在出版《敗者為王》之時即將出戰2012年倫敦奧運,當時不知道他會否預料到自己不只當屆,甚至是再下一屆的里約奧運仍然無法擺脫「二奶宿命」?無論如何,對並非體育強國的馬來西亞來說,誰能為國家掙到一面奧運獎牌已是難能可貴,所以勇奪三面奧運銀牌的李宗偉自然是國家英雄。

在《敗者為王》中,李宗偉自述了前半生的傳奇經歷。在物質維艱的童年,一塊羽毛球拍也許已是奢侈品,但李宗偉仍是放不下對羽毛球的迷戀。這份由衷的熱情,使他在面對離鄉訓練、出外比賽,以至面對一眾宿敵時仍然無畏無懼,永不放棄。

Dare to be a Champion
Author: Lee Chong Wei
Publisher: Bukuganda Digital & Publication

‘To maintain this ranking, I must get up at five o’clock every morning and press on repeatedly with sweat and tears.’

‘As an athlete, you must always bear in mind that your opponents will never let the grass grow under their feet, so you cannot afford to relax even a bit in training.’

While the memories are still fresh over the 2016 Olympic badminton men’s singles final between Chen Long from China and Lee Chong Wei from Malaysia, the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games are already opening next summer, and it’s time to enter the Olympic qualification stage, where top badminton players around the world strive to secure a place in the competition.

Malaysian badminton superstar Lee Chong Wei publicly announced that he had been suffering from nasopharyngeal cancer last year. Although he has since recovered, the triple silver medallist at the Olympic Games is now 36 years old, and next year’s Olympics is likely to be his last one. With his chances of participation hanging in the balance, it will be sad to see Lee calling it a day without competing in this next Olympic Games.

Looking at his career statistics, Lee Chong Wei has won countless championships, and has been ranked the world’s number one for an unprecedented record of 350 weeks in total. In addition to the Olympics, however, Lee somehow has never won a championship title in many major badminton tournaments, including the World Championships, Thomas Cup, Sudirman Cup and Asian Games. Being labelled the ‘Uncrowned King of Badminton’, he might have even been trying to ridicule himself by naming his autobiography published in 2012 Dare to be a Champion.

When Dare to be a Champion was published, Lee was about to compete in the 2012 London Olympics. At that time, could he have expected to live with the fate of playing second fiddle not only in that Olympics, but also in the following Rio Olympics? In any case, it is no small feat for a player to win an Olympic medal for Malaysia, which is by no means a sports superpower. As a three-time Olympic silver medallist, Lee truly does deserve to be considered a national hero.

In Dare to be a Champion, Lee recounted his extraordinary experiences during the first half of his life. Although a badminton racket was almost considered a luxury during his poor childhood upbringing, Lee’s passion for badminton did not abate one bit. Regardless of leaving his home for training, competing in foreign countries or facing fierce rivals, his wholehearted enthusiasm made him a formidable competitor who never gives up.

《日本足球的明治維新》

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《日本足球的明治維新》
作者:應虹霞

「戰後重建日本足球,其難度不亞於在廢墟上重建國家。」

「一如福澤諭吉的思想之於日本明治維新的意義,理念變革和意識先行引發了日本足球職業化這場足球領域的劃時代變革。」

「內田篤人制勝德甲的秘訣,是德國人的鬥志外加日本球員的敏捷性、協調性。」

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這一篇刊出之時,2019亞洲盃足球賽已到了白熱化階段,而今屆冠軍亦將於2月1日在阿布扎比揭盅。說起至今已舉辦16屆的亞洲盃,曾經四度奪冠的日本可謂這項賽事的最成功球隊。今次為大家介紹的書,亦正是與日本足球發展有關。

《日本足球的明治維新》(下稱《維新》)於2012年出版,作者應虹霞是一名中國體育記者,而她諳熟日語,不時訪問日本教練及球員,對日本足球發展所知甚詳,同時被譽為「日本足球通」,所以她寫的《維新》可說是一部日本足球簡史,由1936年柏林奧運,說到2010年南非世界盃,將日本足球發展呈現讀者眼前。

作者以「明治維新」為書名,明顯意在讚揚日本足球廿年改革成功。我們現在看到J聯賽之盛,看到日本國家隊成為世界盃常客,絕難想像在數十年前它曾經是那麼的業餘。再反觀幾乎與日本同步開始職業化的中國足球,相比之下,兩者發展大相逕庭,情況令人感慨。

原來1936年奧運足球賽中,日本爆大冷擊敗瑞典一役,會影響到十多年後首個奪得諾貝爾的日本科學家?原來J聯賽球隊命名各有深意?原來巴西名宿薛高當年赴日也只是踢乙組球隊?《維新》述說的無數故事,使讀者領略到日本足球有今天的成就絕非倖致,而且足以成為中國足球的殷鑑。它雖然是七年前的作品,但今天看來仍未過時。

【Exercise and Read】Uncle Shrimp Running
Meiji Restoration of Japanese Football
Author: Ying Hong-xia

‘Restoring Japanese football after the war was as difficult as rebuilding the country on its ruins.’

‘Similar to the impact of Fukuzawa Yukichi’s thoughts on Japan’s Meiji Restoration, conceptual reform and ideology first triggered the epoch-making revolution in the professionalization of Japanese football.’

‘The secret of Atsuto Uchida’s success in the Bundesliga is the mix of the German’s perseverance plus the agility of Japanese football players.’

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By the time of the release of this article, the 2019 AFC Asian Cup should have reached a critical stage and this year’s champion will be crowned in Abu Dhabi on 1 February. To date, the Asian Cup has been held 16 times, during which Japan has emerged the most successful team winning the championship four times. The book introduced in this issue also chronicles the overall development of Japanese football.

Meiji Restoration of Japanese Football (referred to as The Restoration) was published in 2012. Author Ying Hong-xia is a Chinese sports journalist, who is also regarded as a ‘Japanese football guru’ because of her mastery of the Japanese language, frequent interviews with Japanese coaches and players as well as her in-depth knowledge about football’s development in Japan. For this reason, her book The Restoration can indeed be considered a brief history of Japanese football, presenting to readers its development all the way from the 1936 Berlin Olympics to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

The use of ‘Meiji Restoration’ in the book title is an allegorical reference to Japan’s success in its 20-year football reform. With the flourishing J-League and Japanese national team being the Finalist in the World Cup regularly, it is hard to imagine how Japanese football grew from amateur level to professional a few decades ago. By contrast, the development of Chinese football – which started professionalization at a similar time as Japan – stands in stark opposition to the case of Japan and the situation is indeed disheartening.
Who would have ever thought that the 1936 Olympic football match where Japan pulled off an upset of Sweden would influence the Japanese scientist who won the country’s first Nobel Prize more than a decade later? Who knew that the names of J-League football teams have their own special meanings, and that the legendary Brazilian player Zico once joined Japanese commercial football team in second division only?

Through stories behind these facts as told in The Restoration, readers will realize that Japanese football’s achievements nowadays did not come about through sheer luck, and that the success Japan has achieved can serve as a good example for Chinese football. Although the book was written seven years ago, it still retains relevancy even today.

About the writer: Uncle Shrimp loves reading, writing and athletics, and hopes he can continue exploring the world through sports.

吃過雞蛋,認識母雞

 

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錢鍾書說:「假如你吃了個雞蛋,覺得不錯,何必要認識那下蛋的母雞呢?」

如果香港渣打馬拉松(港馬)是個「雞蛋」,姑且不論它是否不錯,但對於那「母雞」,身為香港跑者,我還是很有興趣認識的。

我在約十年前才首度參加港馬十公里賽,到2013年拿到首面全馬完賽獎牌。對很多舊事,都是零零碎碎地從網上與前輩口中得知——例如原來以前曾以深水埗運動場為終點,原來以前曾經限時五小時,原來以前沒有完賽獎牌,原來以前試過補給不足。很多以前的秘辛,就這樣點滴在我心中拼湊出那「母雞」的模樣。

實不相瞞,其實我不只對港馬這「母雞」有興趣,我甚至連它的家系淵源都想知多一點。所以,楊世模、彭沖在2017年所著的《香港馬拉松的足蹤》對我來說實在不可多得。

佔了全書大多數篇幅的,是首兩部分:「長跑運動話當年」:述說香港由開埠至60年代長跑發展;「競賽,跑向世界」:評論60年代至今香港長跑運動員在國際體壇的表現。

這兩部分,資料豐贍,圖片珍貴,如果你對香港長跑發展有興趣的話,讀來定必津津有味。兩位作者均為香港出色運動員,及後亦服務於香港體育界,長期近距離見證及觀察香港體育發展。故若非他們找出及梳理資料,晚輩如我對往日長跑界,往往只能瞎子摸象。

不過亦坦白說,首部分由古而今縷述本地長跑發展資料雖然豐富,卻稍嫌欠缺鋪排及分析,難免有讀者會覺得像一份流水帳。第二部分分析較多,亦加插了作者個人對長跑好手的觀察或訪談,故相比之下更為有趣耐讀。

本書不無瑕疵,例如不時都寫錯了部分香港運動員的名字,又例如對港馬的評價未必使人同意。但無論如何,此書開創了本地長跑歷史著作的先河,對本地跑友仍是一部極具價值的重要書籍。

誠意推薦跑友諸君,不妨抽空展卷,回顧一下香港長跑路上的往事鈎沉。一年容易又港馬,敬祝各位今年跑得精彩,馬到功成!