Sport and Fiction 3: Not Art by Péter Esterházy

Sport and Fiction 3: Not Art by Péter Esterházy

Not Art, like all good sports fiction, isn’t about sport and in many ways it isn’t even a novel. It’s a piece of autofiction by a man writing about his mother. A mother who is besotted by football and by one practitioner in particular, the great Ferenc Puskás of Hungary.

Esterházy is an interesting character, coming from an aristocratic family, and considered a major European novelist. His brother was a professional footballer and Péter himself played a bit. Continue reading “Sport and Fiction 3: Not Art by Péter Esterházy”

Sport and Fiction 2: The Throwback Special by Chris Bachelder

Sport and Fiction 2: The Throwback Special by Chris Bachelder

This is one of the most interesting sports fiction books I’ve read. Like the best books in the genre, it isn’t about the sport in question at all – well it’s about a few elements of it: ritual, memory/nostalgia, and repetition. These are key elements of all sport and some of the reasons why we watch and participate in sport. They shouldn’t be underestimated. Continue reading “Sport and Fiction 2: The Throwback Special by Chris Bachelder”

Super Bowl LII – Aw or Awe?

Super Bowl LII – Aw or Awe?

There’s an old story about John Wayne. Probably apocryphal. John played a Roman centurion in the movie The Greatest Story Ever Told, an American film from 1965 produced and directed by George Stevens. John had a small role as did many other famous actors. All he had to do, at the end of the film, after Christ was crucified, was to say the affirmative line: ‘surely this man is the son of God’. Stevens wasn’t happy that John was putting enough into it so he asked him to put more awe into the line. So John (on the zillionth take) said: ‘Aw, surely this man is the son of God’.

And that’s the way I feel about the Super Bowl. Continue reading “Super Bowl LII – Aw or Awe?”

Sporting Moments Number 2304, Johnny Sexton Drop Goal or Why We Watch Sport

Sporting Moments Number 2304, Johnny Sexton Drop Goal or Why We Watch Sport

We watch sport, and we participate in sport, because of emotions. Because we want to feel and to show emotions and sport facilitates that – it permits that. Which is no mean feat, especially when it comes to men showing their emotions.

Where else do you see people gasp and shout and scream and laugh and cry themselves hoarse and not a person around them bats an eyelid? Continue reading “Sporting Moments Number 2304, Johnny Sexton Drop Goal or Why We Watch Sport”

Sport in Fiction Part 1: A Natural by Ross Raisin

Sport in Fiction Part 1: A Natural by Ross Raisin

There was something of homework about this novel. I read it soon after A Scandal by Fredrik Backman, as I wanted to see how current novelists are approaching sport as the backdrop to fiction. Seeing as how my own novel, The First Sunday in September, to be published by Mercier Press in August, attempts just that. Continue reading “Sport in Fiction Part 1: A Natural by Ross Raisin”

Sporting Emotions at the Páirc Uí Chaoimh Official Opening

Sporting Emotions at the Páirc Uí Chaoimh Official Opening

Sport is all about emotion. It’s why we watch it and participate in it. And yesterday, on the day of the official opening of the new Páirc Uí Chaoimh – on the day too when the Cork senior hurling and football county finals were decided – there were many emotions for those lucky enough to be present and experience them.

My first time going to the new Páirc was in July when Waterford and Wexford played in the All-Ireland hurling quarter-final and on that day, when I turned the corner of Maryville to walk down that familiar hill to the ground, I felt pride. It was a kind of Cork pride too, since I was among Wexicans and Waterfordians. This is ours, it’s special, and here you are visiting – enjoy. Continue reading “Sporting Emotions at the Páirc Uí Chaoimh Official Opening”

Why do we flock to the four great Sundays of September?

Why do we flock to the four great Sundays of September?

And so, tomorrow, we come to our fourth September Sunday, when the mighty women of Dublin and the mighty women of Mayo do battle to win the Senior All-Ireland Ladies Football Final. And the no less mighty women of Derry and Fermanagh and Tipperary and Tyrone do battle as well. By the way, I don’t use that word ‘mighty’ lightly, I mean it literally. These women are, as the dictionary tells us: ‘powerful, strong, in body and mind’. They bloody well are. And as the song goes: ‘this ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no fooling around.’ This is the real deal. Try it sometime. Continue reading “Why do we flock to the four great Sundays of September?”