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The Language of the Game: How to Understand…
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The Language of the Game: How to Understand Soccer (edició 2018)

de Laurent Dubois (Autor)

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212879,847 (3.5)3
Essential reading for soccer fans amid the Women's World Cup in 2019, a lively and lyrical guide to appreciating the drama of soccer Soccer is not only the world's most popular sport; it's also one of the most widely shared forms of global culture. The Language of the Game is a passionate and engaging introduction to soccer's history, tactics, and human drama. Profiling soccer's full cast of characters -- goalies and position players, referees and managers, commentators and fans -- historian and soccer scholar Laurent Dubois describes how the game's low scores, relentless motion, and spectacular individual performances combine to turn each match into a unique and unpredictable story. He also shows how soccer's global reach makes it an unparalleled theater for nationalism, international conflict, and human interconnectedness, with close attention to both men's and women's soccer. Filled with perceptive insights and stories both legendary and little known, The Language of the Game is a rewarding read for anyone seeking to understand soccer better -- newcomers and passionate followers alike.… (més)
Membre:ckadams5
Títol:The Language of the Game: How to Understand Soccer
Autors:Laurent Dubois (Autor)
Informació:Basic Books (2018), 320 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
Etiquetes:to-read

Informació de l'obra

The Language of the Game: How to Understand Soccer de Laurent Dubois

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I wanted to like this more than I did. And there is much to like: Dubois knows his stuff and offers some interesting histories of various rules (offside and not fouling the keeper) and people (like Zidane and Maradona). The writing is clear and lively and the book moves from anecdote to anecdote. I’m sure that some readers who know more about the sport than I do will complain about what’s left out—in his chapter on forwards, for example, there's scant mention of the GOAT debate revolving around Messi and Reynaldo. But I am not nearly as much of a superfan as those who have watched the sport since infancy. I learned a lot about how Drogba intervened in Ivory Coast’s civil war and how the Rules of the Game were formed.

What marred my experience of The Language of the Game was how Dubois peppers the book with political asides in order to display his bona fides to his like-minded readers. Can't we get a day off? For example, in his chapter on the referee, Dubois describes the introduction of goal-line technology in the 2010 World Cup:

Its introduction was a concession to the fact that referees had, with some frequency, made mistakes about this in the past, by giving a goal when the ball hadn’t crossed the line or else claiming the ball hadn’t crossed the line when it did. The latter was famously the case in the 2010 men’s World Cup, when a goal scored by the US against Slovenia, which clearly went over the line, was disallowed by the Malian referee Koman Coulibaly. The decision was a lightning rod; suddenly all kinds of people who never seem to care much about soccer before were enraged that this referee—who, some noted, didn’t even speak English!—had stole a goal from the United States.

Of course anyone who complained that the referee didn’t speak English is an idiot—but Dubois throws that aside in here for no reason other than to demonstrate his own superiority to them, which is like claiming one’s superiority over a caveman. At the time, the language of that referee was not a major issue and the crack serves no other purpose than to call to mind the cliché of the Ugly American. He does this also in his chapter on the fan, in which he states that the Gold Cup tournament “causes occasional outbreaks of xenophobia among some US fans” and offers Tim Howard’s foolish 2011 complaint that the trophy ceremony was held in Spanish. Again, Dubois offers the argument of a lone blockhead as if it were representative of Americans as a whole. And are the US fans the only “xenophobic” ones? I've seen the USMNT play Paraguay and Ghana and both were great times with lots of friendly hi-fives between different countries' supporters. And if there’s any institution in which Americans do not fall into racism or xenophobia, it’s sports.

Dubois also speaks of the lawsuit brought by the USWNT that their earning less money than their male counterparts is discriminatory. But surely he knows that this is a matter of economics. If talent and trophies determined pay, the women would be paid much more than their lackluster male counterparts. If I could do what Neymar does, I, too, would be the reason for a $300 million transfer fee. But, for good or for ill, it’s the market that determines the salaries. Once more eyes are ready to watch ads during halftimes of women’s games, the salaries will rise.

These moments are not enough to ruin the book, but one of the great things about soccer is that, for ninety minutes, we can be free of hashtags and bumper stickers and virtue signaling. Dubois seems to want the experience of watching soccer to resemble that of reading the Washington Post. And that’s a shame, because he clearly loves the game. There are great stories to be told about how soccer has influenced (and been influenced by) national events; Dubois is solid and engaging when he sticks to them. ( )
  Stubb | Aug 28, 2018 |
He does a really good job of looking at soccer from an international perspective and talking about the political implications. Also, he tries to give equal attention to Women's soccer, so now I am a fan of his. ( )
  banjo123 | Jul 9, 2018 |
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Essential reading for soccer fans amid the Women's World Cup in 2019, a lively and lyrical guide to appreciating the drama of soccer Soccer is not only the world's most popular sport; it's also one of the most widely shared forms of global culture. The Language of the Game is a passionate and engaging introduction to soccer's history, tactics, and human drama. Profiling soccer's full cast of characters -- goalies and position players, referees and managers, commentators and fans -- historian and soccer scholar Laurent Dubois describes how the game's low scores, relentless motion, and spectacular individual performances combine to turn each match into a unique and unpredictable story. He also shows how soccer's global reach makes it an unparalleled theater for nationalism, international conflict, and human interconnectedness, with close attention to both men's and women's soccer. Filled with perceptive insights and stories both legendary and little known, The Language of the Game is a rewarding read for anyone seeking to understand soccer better -- newcomers and passionate followers alike.

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