Against Football: One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto by Steve Almond

By Steve Almond

On any given Sunday, soccer features extra like a countrywide faith than a activity. thousands of fanatics assemble each weekend in autumn to absorb the grace, drama, and pageantry of the sport. in truth, we like soccer a lot we’ve turn into unaware of its dangers.

Simply positioned: the sport isn’t solid for us. clinical study confirms what the headlines continue reporting: soccer reasons mind harm. liked corridor of Famers are actually being affected by dementia and taking their very own lives. It’s not only the professionals that suffer, both. young ones and youths are at risk of an identical kinds of accidents, with an identical long term results—perhaps much more so.

But football’s mental and fiscal hazards—though extra subtle—are simply as profound.

Here, big apple occasions bestselling writer Steve Almond information why, after 40 years as a fan, he can not watch the sport he nonetheless loves. utilizing a synthesis of memoir, reportage, and cultural critique, Almond steps again from the seductive din of the gridiron to invite a chain of provocative questions:

• What does it suggest that our society has transmuted the intuitive actual joys of childhood—run, bounce, throw, tackle—into a billion-dollar industry?
• How did a game that explanations mind harm develop into the top signifier of our associations of upper learning?
• Does our dependancy to soccer foster a tolerance for violence, greed, racism, and homophobia?

There hasn't ever been a e-book that exposes the darkish underside of America’s favourite video game with such searing candor.

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Extra resources for Against Football: One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto

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Female fighters themselves, sometimes because they wish to attract fans by exploiting the link to pornography, have also helped to muddy the distinction between foxy and legitimate boxing. A wellknown professional named Mia St. John—not much of a fighter, but easy on the eyes—posed on the cover of Playboy with her gloved hands covering her naked breasts. A couple of the women who fought in the 1997 amateur nationals in Georgia listed beauty pageants among their credentials (McGonigal dismissed them as “West Coast” dabblers), and more than one buffed “exotic dancer” has entered the legitimate ring, usually to be slaughtered by a woman who means business.

They had a party at a bar with a five-dollar cover and a raffle,” she told me, “and people came up with five or ten dollars or whatever they could. ” It was a reminder that boxing, as a form of rough, work-related play, still retains its cachet in what the sociologist Kathryn Dudley calls “the culture of the hands,” the system of values and meaning that evolved around the sweat and shopfloor cooperation of industrial body work. 7 The GE hands cared that a hardworking local girl who was good with her hands— even one who, as we shall see, was also deeply invested in the culture of the mind—had a chance to make good.

Pornography has shadowed women’s boxing for a long time. One typical advertisement for a prizefight between women in eighteenthcentury England started with jibes and counterjibes from the combatants but ended with descriptions of what they would and would not be wearing. ” It led off with the challenger’s statement: “Whereas I Mary Welch, from the Kingdom of Ireland, being taught, and knowing the Noble Science of Defence, and thought to be the only Female of this Kind in Europe, understanding here is one in this Kingdom .

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