Daily Archives: October 14, 2011

Totaalvoetbal

I confess I have no idea how the regular bloggers find the time to produce so much. How, for example, does Eric McDonald manage to produce a lengthy, comprehensive, articulate, high quality and well thought out post almost every day? There are loads of things that I feel I could say, but I just don’t have the time, and by the time I could get round to it the moment has passed. Of course that could be an organisation problem on my part. I do have to admire the likes of Eric and Jerry Coyne, who has a full-time job as well to contend with.

Anyway I do intend this to be my first post apart from the introduction and I always intended to make it one about football, important in so many ways. I get the feeling that it will go nowhere but I would like to pay some homage to major football history. We all know of events after which nothing is quite the same. Parenthood, for one thing, is something that most anyone who has children will recognise as such an event. But it could be first hearing a different type of music, or reading a book,  seeing a movie, finding religion or abandoning it. Or, in this case, watching a football match.

I’ve recently returned from the Caribbean and as usual a great time was had by all. There was a tinge of sadness, however, as it was probably the last time we’ll spend on holiday with both our boys.

But to the matter in hand. Many years ago I bought a book about football in Holland – Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football by David Winner. I was thinking about this book because one son read it during our holiday and now it’s in the possession of the other – for a while, I’m missing an old friend.  Football, arguably more than any other activity including religion, is a cultural phenomenon – even the anti-football culture of many Americans attests to this. As such, it’s a vehicle for deeper anthropological and cultural understanding. The best football books, such as the outstanding Football Against the Enemy  by Simon Kuper, make this clear. A lot can be understood about a country or region’s culture by studying its football (or lack of it).

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