Football and literature (for and between two waters)

(Continuation) I was telling you last week, soccer is without a doubt the only sport capable of paralyzing the attention of half the planet, and even more so in the development of a Soccer World Cup like the one we are experiencing. One in which there is no audiovisual device, that is not turned on to watch a certain game by a fan base that, inevitably, takes a position for one team or another. An action that does not distinguish sex, religion, nationality or profession; It is so, some say that God made us of these wickerwork, and since we are going from literary wickerwork, I offer you one more short list.

Sartre, Nabokov and Asturias. From the French writer, partner of the philosopher and also an existentialist Simone de Beauvoirawarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1964 that he rejected due to cultural convictions, it is known that he enjoyed football, which he considered the best example of the relationship between men. In fact, jean paul sartreleft us a clear analogy in the vision of the human condition according to existentialism, “In football, everything is complicated by the presence of the opposing team.” What a great soccer truth. For his part, the Russian-American-Swiss author Vladimir Nabokovas well as author of lolitachess player, translator and lepidopterologist in his autobiography describes himself as “an eccentric but rather spectacular goalkeeper in my time with the Trinity College team at Cambridge University”.

Furthermore, in his poem soccerwrote: “Fortunately, the game was played much more in the other half of the field…”. And of course, the Guatemalan Miguel Angel Asturias writer, journalist and diplomat who contributed so much to the development of Latin American literature, drawing attention to the importance of indigenous cultures. He is the author of the novel corn men Y Nobel Prize for Literature in 1967, which did not prevent him from explaining in an article the Uruguayan origin of the word ‘fan’. Apparently it is inspired by a man who made his living inflating bicycle tires on weekdays but who went to soccer on Sundays and since he was the one who suffered the most and shouted in the stands, when people asked who that man was, the Those who knew him answered, remembering his profession: “He’s the fan.”

From grass to poetry and vice versa. Go ahead, this section has left me throwing away Luis Garcia Montero to whom I read something like “soccer players dream with their feet and poets run with their heads” some time ago. Let me say because one of the first, the footballer Xavi Hernandez, you know “our man in Qatar”, he dropped one day with “The speed of the head is more important than that of the legs”, I want to think that the man from Tarras wanted to say that football is not just running and kicking the ball. And throwing away because one of the seconds, the poet Miguel Hernandeza great soccer fan, played as a winger in the delivery girla humble team from his Orihuela, the one where he died Ramon Sijewith whom he loved so much.

As a footballer they say he was good but slow, which is why he was nicknamed ‘Barbacha’ (snail), and as a poet he wrote a football elegy to sublimate goalkeepers. Apparently in a game lolo, the Orihuela FC goalkeeper, hit the post and opened a huge gap in the head. One more set of the game but from which the Oriolano wrote ‘I chose the goalkeeper’quite an exercise in inventiveness where he haggled between the fiction of death and the game of rhyme. ‘It was a deadly plunger. With how many! right / and effect, your head / gave it to the post. Like a female sex, / opened the lightness / from the blow a grenade of sadness’.

Between two waters. When one investigates the importance of soccer in literature, one fact draws attention, despite the proven social importance of this sport, and the much that is said and written about it today, relatively few writers who They have talked and talk about football. They make up a smaller list of authors -not a list of minor authors, among which there are furious defenders and others, to a lesser extent, who criticize it- compared to the majority who do not want to know anything about what is recognized as the king of sports.

A sociocultural contradiction that some scholars of the subject associate with a general criterion among editors, authors and even readers of a high cultural stratum, according to which writing about football is like visiting the suburbs of literature. And since soccer, at least in Europe, was associated from the beginning with low culture, this supposed loss of prestige meant that many pens did not get close to it; something very different from what happened in the United States, for example, with boxing. But there is another explanatory hypothesis, about the soccer wasteland in Spanish literature. (To be continue)

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Football and literature (for and between two waters)