Monday, March 27, 2006


I've been reading about Nabokov in 'Written Lives' and was surprised to find that he played football when he was in Cambridge. He was a goalkeeper apparently. This naturally put me in mind of the fact that Albert Camus played between the sticks for Algeria.

I also remember being vaguely aware that another Nobel laureate - for physics rather than literature - was apparently a good soccer player in his youth.

Yes, Niels Bohr was indeed a keen football player and was the goalkeeper in the Danish team Akademisk Boldklub in the beginning of the 20th century, but even though AB [as the club is commonly known] were, at the time, one of the best clubs in Denmark, he never made it to the national team. However, his brother Harald - a well-known scientist in his own right - who also played at AB, played for the Danish national team and was part of the team that won silver at the 1908 London Olympics.
Maybe Monty Python got it right about goalkeepers and culture all those years ago:
"Why is it that so many of Britain's top goalies feel moved to write about the Yangtze?"
"It's a river of disillusioned ambition, and I think that this is good."
Here's the song.

No comments: