While I’ve been in Italy post graduation I have rediscovered the joys of reading. Now that I’m not obligated to read so much, and I don’t speak the lingua franca around here, I’ve immersed myself in various different, imaginary English-language worlds. In fact I have already started an ever-growing collection of paperbacks acquisited through various English language bookstores. One of them Nick Hornby’s “Fever Pitch” I read recently. But it inspired me to write about the books, maybe relate them to my life as it’s going on here, try and draw some significance out of the gluttonous way i’ve been tearing through the books here.
Fever Pitch involves NIck Hornby’s 20 plus year love affair (OBSESSION) with football, with Arsenal to be more specific. The book is a documentation of Arsenal games and a few others that he has seen that tie in with periods in his life. It as an autobiographical attempt to come to grips with his fervent, deeply held emotional attachment to ‘the game’ that makes it much more than a game.
Fandom isn’t about living vicariously through the team. It is about having your own intense joy and agony, based on the outcome of a sporting event. As a Canucks fan, I can relate and empathize, though he’s really fucking nuts about it. But in fact, he’s like 50% of the followers of any sports club. A higher percentage when you get to soccer in Europe.
For me though, I don’t have the deep-seeded connection to a soccer club. I enjoy the sport, am fucking pumped for World Cup 2006, but I don’t really have a club I’m slavishly devoted to, and I feel like I’m missing out. I would devote myself to a club, but not only would I be a phony Johnny-Come-Lately, i’d be in danger of getting my ass kicked by other fans for reasons I don’t quite understand.