Some of Borges’ critiques are valid and relevant today. The nationalism generated by football does result in the fanaticism, hatred, racism, and xenophobia displayed by fans all over the world. Also, how the game is used by politicians and dictators for their own self-interest and to support their political objectives.
These are all undeniable realities that are still an ugly part of football.
But even a genius like Borges can be wrong.
The flow and artistry of the game is beautiful and timeless. It is not mind boggling that Borges was not able to understand and recognize the aesthetic wonder that is football.
His own prejudices brought out the blinders.
Soccer is popular,” Jorge Luis Borges observed, “because stupidity is popular.”
At first glance, the Argentine writer’s animus toward “the beautiful game” seems to reflect the attitude of today’s typical soccer hater, whose lazy gibes have almost become a refrain by now: Soccer is boring. There are too many tie scores. I can’t stand the fake injuries.
And it’s true: Borges did call soccer “aesthetically ugly.”
He did say, “Soccer is one of England’s biggest crimes.”
The start of the World Cup in Brazil is just 24 hours away. The next best thing to watching the games is reading about this great sport.
There are several books on this list that I recommend.
Football Against the Enemy – The first book to analyze the social and political aspects that are connected to football around the world. It paved the way for other books that have been written on the same subject.
Soccer in Sun and Shadow – Full of anecdotes about the players, games, goals, and moments of glory and infamy that are all a part of football’s history.
Fever Pitch – What it means to be a football fan. Brilliantly told in this book.
With the 2014 World Cup commencing this week, there’s never been a better time to delve into the complexities of the world’s game. For more insight into what is (and is not) football, and why so many people care so very much, here are some titles to guide you through the coming month of games:
According to Simon Kuper who has been writing about football, in particular European football, for many years.
Kuper’s first book “Football Against The Enemy”, an outstanding book that is still highly readable and relevant, was influential in paving the way for an increase in the popularity and publishing of football books.
An interview with…
Simon Kuper on Best Football Books in English
The author of Why England Lose tells us what it means to be a football fan (and why England lose).
This fantastic back heel goal was scored by Alexandre Coeff in the Toulon Tournament game between France and the United States.
Will it end up as the FIFA Goal of the Year?
Well, if it doesn’t win it will surely be in the conversation.
This year’s All German Champions League Final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund has been fantastic.
There’s twenty minutes left in the game as I write this.
It’s been a well played exciting game.
Plenty of scoring chances for both teams.
Great plays, free flowing football, great goal keeping and great defending as well.
Personally, I’m rooting for Dortmund because they’re the underdogs, they’re a small town team with a working class fan base as opposed to the big city, big stars, very rich, Bayern team.
We’ll see how it all ends but this is a truly great, unforgettable, Champions League Final.
Games like this are what we football fans live for and it is a reminder why football is such a wonderful sport and why it is so passionately loved by people everywhere in the World.