THIS LOVE IS NOT FOR COWARDS – By Robert Andrew Powell

Daniel Brint Literature & Literary criticism 2 Comments


By Robert Andrew Powell

Before the publication of Fever Pitch, Nick Hornby’s autobiographical account of being a football supporter, “the beautiful game” was not really considered a subject for serious writing. Football books were either ghosted biographies of stars and managers, or celebrations of particular clubs. Since Hornby, a genre of books about football has emerged, often dealing with the individual experience of supporters and sometimes branching out to explore the social and cultural contexts surround ingthe world’s favourite game – My Father and other Working Class Football Heroes by Gary Imlach or Football Against the Enemy by Simon Kuper, for example.) Powell’s book is unusual as it is written by an American for whom football (or soccer) is not a religion given at birth, but a game played by and followed by foreigners – in his case, the peoples of drug scarred Jaurez in Mexico, where Powell has put down roots. In the USA, soccer is a minority sport and usually associated with girls, despite the numerous attempts over the years to export it to a national level. The fact Powell can stand at a distance from the sport is a definite advantage, giving his the detachment of an anthropologist. He follows the fortune – and mainly the misfortunes – of Los Indios, a team that inspires great loyalty but minimal joy. This book is about far more than soccer, however, it is an account of a community where murder is common, drug addiction the norm and law and order something that departed as the cartels moved in. Like supporting a losing team, survival depends on hope, determination, loyalty and belief, only unlike football, this really is a question of life and death


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