I had a chance to see the Argentina/Netherlands Word Cup football/soccer game last Wednesday. It was the first one I’d ever seen.
And what a great way for a non-sports fan like me to watch it. I was visiting a friend in the country, far away from the choked streets teeming with FIFA Galactic Cruisers and their horns and flags. Nightmare stuff for me.
There were large glass doors beside the television where I could look out and take in a bucolic view of trees and fields and chickens and hummingbirds. Lovely evening.
The game itself didn’t hook me but I found it kind of useful.
It let me slip into some day-dreaming about the FIFA fans and their unabashed promotion of their favourite teams. All those whipping flags on all those little cars a-wavin’ in their exhaust. The horns honking as if their Honda Civics all had Tourrette’s Syndrome.
Let me tell you, I have no interest in football/soccer.
I do have an interest in other people being interested.
In brief: You put together two things that don’t normally belong together and you get an enriched perspective of the two elements
The Mona Lisa framed in potato peelings. Foreground and background.
So while the TV was blasting out the game, my attention was drifting out the window, just openly aware of nature on a summer afternoon. (Sky Meditation is possible during a televised football game, after all.)
I thought that, as much as I cannot tolerate sports, I have a love of books. When an author like Dennis Lehane writes a book such as “The Given Day“, I don’t even mind if a large part of the subject matter is sports.
I’ve come to think of book awards as sporting events. You’ve got your draft picks, your regular season, your play-offs, and your trophy. The only difference is that with, real sports, the players get to duke it out themselves. With book awards, you get the panels. Poor devils who don’t have the time to read all the entries anyways.
And there are the literary blog sites which could not exist without the word “award” on their pages. (Even if they are called “Shadow Awards”)
You may have gathered by now that I don’t give a damn about book awards. In fact, I think they have a backwards effect of making writers write for awards. Besides, the books that win are never books I admire are almost always awful. Where do they get those panelists from?
Not to be ruled out as a total crank, however, I would like to join in with the spirit of the World Cup fans and suggest the following:
Why don’t literature aficionados do what their ball-kicking brethren do and stick authors’ faces on flags?
We’d have pictures of poets and novelists attached to people’s cars and bundle buggies. Heck, stick them on dog coats as they drive, walk and shop around the Annex and Riverdale. Not just on the occasional postage stamp.
Why aren’t books as good as soccer? Why don’t people tip over cars and fight in the streets and bars over the Giller Awards?
FIFA fans vote with their Hondas. And I will give sports one break – they may be the only unscripted media events going.
Sure, there are rules and uniforms but how the teams get to the ending is always uncertain. That’s why we have bookies.
In the meantime …
Get the picture?
1. Dear Diary by The Moody Blues fr: On the “Threshold of a Dream”
2. Mr. Apollo by The Bonzo Dog Band fr: “Tadpoles” (and various anthology albums)
3. Mad Men’s Season 7 Episode 6 “The Strategy” closing credits music originally composed by Jean Constantin for the Francois Truffault film: The 400 Blows. This version was arranged by David Carbonara (Mad Men’s incidental music composer).