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Fever Pitch

Beth has been extremely supportive of my renewed interest in soccer and she's been very helpful with the kids' teams and with helping me learn more to become a better coach. She bought the book Fever Pitch for Christmas (she should know better by now than to feed my passions). It's a hilarious book about a lifelong fan of Arsenal Football Club in England.

There are 3 quotes from this book that I wanted to share. This first one is talking about what the author would do if he had a son that supported the rival team. The reaction reminds me of my brother's reaction when he finally beat me in wiffle ball.

"I have more than once fantasised about Arsenal playing Tottenham in the Cup Final; in this fantasy my son, as rapt and tense and unhappy as I was when I first supported Arsenal, is a Spurs fan...and we are watching the game at home on TV. In the last minute the old warhorse Kevin Campbell scores the winner . . . and I explode into a frenzy of joy, leaping around the sitting room, punching the air, jeering at, jostling, tousling the head of my own traumatised child. I fear that I am capable of this, and therefore the mature, self-knowing thing to do would be to see the vasectomist this afternoon."

Beth bought me another book called How Soccer Explains the World. When I was reading Fever Pitch, the author wrote a great summary for how many people across the world view soccer.

"I haven't yet got around to saying that football is a wonderful sport, but of course it is. Goals have a rarity value that points and runs and sets do not, and so there will always be that thrill, the thrill of seeing someone do something that can only be done three or four times in a whole game if you are lucky, not at all if you are not. And I love the pace of it, its lack of formula; and I love the way that small men can destroy big men in a way that they can't in other sports, and they way that the best team does not necessarily win. And there's the athleticism, and the way that strength and intelligence have to combine. It allows players to look beautiful and balletic in a way that some sports do not."

Finally, towards the end of the book, the author is comparing the euphoria of soccer to things like sex and childbirth. He says that the latter two are both very exciting, but long and predictable.

"There is then, literally, nothing to describe it. I have exhausted all the available options. I can recall nothing else that I have coveted for two decades (what else is there that can be reasonably coveted for that long?), nor can I recall anything else that I have desired as both man and boy. So please, be tolerant of those who describe a sporting moment as their best ever. We do not lack imagination, nor have we had sad and barren lives; it is just that real life is paler, duller, and contains less potential for unexpected delirium."

After reading this one last time, I bet my brother remembers the birth of all of his children as the greatest moments in his life. But I also suspect he can still recall the "unexepected delirium" he had when he hit that buzzer-beater for his high school basketball team. I know I can still picture the play in my head, I remember exactly where I was sitting in the stands, and I remember how proud I was that my brother was the hero (and he still is to this day).


  1. I do remember that shot and can’t believe that you do. I remember running around the court like an idiot but can still remember the feeling. I still think the feeling I got from finally winning that waffle ball game after about 14 tries was more exhilarating. I think I jumped around and talked crap for at least a week. I am proud of you little bro. Everything you have done and are doing has been great, your beautiful family, and the person you have become is truly a life I look at and admire. I always knew you would do great things. I could always see you determination in your eyes.


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