We’re Fans: Our Favorite Online Football Writing from 2018

Sure, you normally hit publish on this type of post in December. But I wanted to be sure no piece snuck in before 2018’s final seconds. Also, I procrastinated.

All three pieces are well written, but more so, they warped my football mind with new perspectives.

I hope they warp yours too.

Wright Thompson, The Greatest Game Never Played

Remember as a little kid, when adults would say read! It will take you to new worlds! Wright Thompson’s detailed descriptions make that true. He drops you off in Buenos Aires where the chaos of an eternal rivalry consumed the city.

You’ll hear rubber slugs whizz past, and smell the baking pizza from El Cuartito. But Wright also points out that Boca Juniors, caught up in the madness, missed one of the rarest opportunities in sport – a win-win.

Wright argues had Boca played and lost, they’d have a legitimate excuse to fall back on. Had they played and won? Legends. Forever legends.

Eusebio Di Francesco, The Smell of the Grass

I’m intrigued by professionals who are excellent in their work, but never wanted their jobs in the first place.

Through The Coaches Voice Di Francesco shares a first hand account of running from his calling, and how the smell of the pitch lured him into coaching.

Brian Phillips, World Cup 2018: France Advances Past a Cavani-less Uruguay

Never has a match report made me slam both fists on the dining room table and yell “Yeaaaahhhhhhhh.”

Then el profesor Alan Jacobs posted a snippet from Brian Phillips’ World Cup quarter-final match report.

The opening paragraph, which Alan dubbed “soccer and the impediments to success” is the most obvious, yet insightful explanation of soccer I’ve read.


Current Reading Stack #1

Long ago I decided to participate in the Ray Bradbury writers diet. This diet consisted of reading one short story, one poem and one essay each day.

This he claimed in a lecture at Point Loma Nazarene University’s Writer’s Symposium By the Sea, would ward off writer’s block.

It’s Ray Bradbury. It’s gotta work. Right?

I’ve since gone on to combine Ray’s reading diet with my own, reading one novel, one comic, and one non-fiction book at a time.

I’m not sure it’s helping my writing, but I’m getting a lot of reading done.

 

The Three MusketeersRebecca Solnit wrote on the importance of writers reading the classics. “Live in the deep past” she said.

Taking her advice to heart I started with Athos, Porthos, Armais and D’Artangan. I’ve been in this book for months. Here’s to finishing in 2018!

Fragile Things – A Neil Gaiman collection of short stories. Neil Gaiman will seduce you. He’ll make you choke on your eggs laughing. And he’ll diagnose you with love sickness, all in one book.

The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology – This book was mentioned once on the Freakonomics podcast. I ordered it. Then it took a long nap on my shelf. Now I’m learning geology is the only thing that matters.

The New Kings of Nonfiction – Found this on the clearance shelf at Half Price Books. A sin! This book is worth at least one bitcoin. Glad I scooped it up for two dollars. It’s not considered a collection of essays, more so long form journalism. But I’ll consume it as part of my essay diet for now.

Brown Girl Dreaming – I never believe people when the say “Art is the only thing that will save us.” Jacqueline Woodson’s collection of poems is changing my mind.

The Complete Persepolis – Some people read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” every year. Others read “To Kill a Mockingbird” every year. Many many others don’t read any books, all year.

I read this comic every year. I don’t plan to. But somehow it falls in my lap every twelve months.