“I mean, it’s like we all get our raw materials from our families-but it’s up to us whether we build bridges or bombs.”
– Antsy Bonano
BRIAN KOPPELMAN: Was it important to you to become a better writer?
JEMELE HILL: Oh…
KOPPELMAN: Like, were you aware of that? Like I want to be better at this?
HILL: It was, it was everything.
KOPPELMAN: See this is huge for people cause’ everyone’s always asking how do I get connected? How do I get an agent? How do I get the next thing? That’s only like this much of it. Little tiny bit of it.
KOPPELMAN: The thing is like, how do I get good?
KOPPELMAN: How do I keep going? And so you attacked that part with rigor you think?
HILL: Yeah, that was, I mean, I’m such a journalism nerd in general, but a writing nerd also, and so I was forever trying to connect, you know, how do I find my voice, you know, I acted like you know, I was a detective looking for it not realizing.
KOPPELMAN: So inspiring.
KOPPELMAN: You were consciously trying to find…
HILL: Oh totally.
KOPPELMAN: What’s my original sound?
HILL: Yes, yes.
KOPPELMAN: How do I get the sound in my head, the sound that’s with my friends. I mean you know, it’s what Emerson, Ralph Emerson talked about, like if you, you know, the secret voice that you hear, that you know is out there. That if you can somehow get that expressed.
HILL: That was my struggle.
KOPPELMAN: The battle all writers go through.
HILL: That was my struggle.
Attention writing nerds! Journalism nerds! Story nerds! Nerd nerds!
I played in midfield and was not one of the better footballers, even though I longed to be and could spend hours and hours banging a ball against an enormous wall during those endless, lazy, boring summer days, or sneak onto a grass pitch with a friend and take penalties for hours on end, but that was never the real point, that wasn’t why I played football, it was because it was always, without fail, fun. It was never boring. It was always exciting. And perhaps, I think now, everything else lost importance, that was the point, you did something together, everyone was in on it, no one was excluded, and you disappeared inside yourself. Playing football was like being somewhere, it was like your own world inside a world, with it’s own rules, where I was happy. Yes, for Christ’s sake, that was what it was all about: happiness. Being somewhere else apart from inside yourself.
I stumbled upon Home and Away: Writing the Beautiful Game. Why didn’t anyone tell me this book existed!
There is a point to this. Banega is also exactly what United do not have, an element beyond the strangulating Mourinho blueprint, trusted to purr about the pitch seeking the right place to deploy his velvet-pawed touch. Banega might not sprint or leap well at set pieces. But here he ran the game by stealth, an ambling brain in bright orange boots, funnelling possession into difficult areas and digging his fingernails into the back of United’s midfield.