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Thread: Overeducated sports writers log

  1. #16
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    The Run of Play was an entire site dedicated to this. I loved it. They had articles like this:

    The Death of Socrates | The demon and the daimon,

    The Rat in the Engine | ... on the realism of FIFA 12

    The Cracked Looking Glass | Benfica and the nightmare of history

    Cantona as Anti-Hero | ... on the magnificence of evil.

  2. #17
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    I’d posit two states, states of creative play on the side of Eros, and on the other hand, the desire to preserve or return to an earlier state on the side of Thanatos. Barca’s power seems to be in their standing for the former when they are in a position of fame and importance which makes most clubs turn towards the latter. Chelsea are pure death drive manifested as sport: a paranoid machine who’s parts only care about restoring themselves to a time when they were considered the greatest in the world. Sometimes watching someone like Ballack play he looks trapped under the weight of his need to re-become ‘Ballack’, the proper name for the player who dragged along Germany and Munich single-handedly at times, of whom he is now only a simulacrum.

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  4. #18
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    It's weird that they write all that stuff but don't know the difference between whose and who's.

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  6. #19
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    I suppose thinking in this way is fun, a sort of mental kickabout.

  7. #20
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  8. #21
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    Reminds me of a thread I was going to do about Apollo and Dionysus and how that might relate to music.

    Overeducated forum poster.

  9. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by IdleRich View Post
    It's weird that they write all that stuff but don't know the difference between whose and who's.
    That's just something from the comments section. It isn't one of the actual writers.

  10. #23
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    That site was around at the perfect time as Guardiola's Barca were ripe for that sort of approach:

    Barcelona and the Idea of the Beautiful Game - http://www.runofplay.com/2009/04/30/...eautiful-game/

  11. #24
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    Football & Modernism, Tradition and the Individual Superstar | How T.S. Eliot explains Lionel Messi - http://www.runofplay.com/2011/02/09/...ual-superstar/

    The vast conceptual morass of modernism, modernity, and the modern subsumes many different strands. Christopher Mann, in an earlier piece for this site, articulates one such strand quite nicely, ultimately lamenting global soccer’s inexorable march toward “materialistic modernity.” For Mann, the modern robs soccer of its spontaneity, its naïveté, its inner Romanticism. For me, the modern strips soccer down to its most raw and most beautiful form. Mann treats the modern as a cultural condition, one that defines an era of commercialization and celebrity. But it’s also possible to view the modern as an aesthetic category, and in that vein, T.S. Eliot’s version—the one to which I subscribe—illuminates the unlikely literary underpinnings of the beautiful game.

    The Eliotian conception of modernism, which I derive from his 1919 essay, “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” presents at its core the idea of “tradition.” In a literary sense, this idea holds that all literature, from the works of Homer to those of Jonathan Franzen, enjoys a “simultaneous existence,” and that this simultaneous existence endows any given work with meaning. We measure artistic significance in this version of modernity by judging the work vis-à-vis the work of “the dead,” according to Eliot. Interestingly, and controversially, Eliot also believes that this canon constitutes a “simultaneous order,” an order that is altered every time a new work enters the canon. Upon a new work’s entry into the canon, a process of modulation occurs until “the values of each work of art toward the whole are readjusted.” As Eliot sees it, the present can alter the past, and vice-versa.

    Sound confusing? Well, the same goes for soccer, where Eliot’s essay can help us consider the accomplishments of players past and present. Consider the case of Lionel Messi. On the surface, he appears to exemplify the Romantic, full of youthful guile, inimitable skill, and iconically bad hair—an individualist anathema to Eliot’s impersonal tradition. Some say he’s the best player in the world, others say he might be the best player in history. Regardless, these claims are actually grounded in modernity. Eliot writes, “No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone.” How can we evaluate Messi? By comparing him to the players he competes against. Who is Messi better than? Pretty much everyone playing right now. This juxtaposition of the work (Messi) to the canon (worldwide player pool) makes the claim possible. Who else do we compare Messi to? More grandiose claims about his greatness invariably include his fellow Argentine, Maradona. The YouTube videos comparing every single (eerily similar) step of their mazy half-field runs side-by-side—those are extensions of Eliotian tradition, Eliotian modernism, in modern day. Maradona’s run gives meaning to Messi’s, and his past accomplishments situate Messi’s current ones. Similarly, Messi’s current feats alter our perception of Maradona’s past ones. Messi is pretty damn good, but he doesn’t have meaning alone.

    Moreover, modernism can reveal to us insights into the success of Messi’s club. Here we must consider Eliot’s depersonalized conception of beauty because, for Eliot, “it is not the greatness” or “sublimity” that matters “but the intensity of the artistic process.” The “artistic process” I equate to Barcelona’s system: for me, the joy of watching the system collectively overwhelm an opponent trumps any ephemeral awe from watching an individual bit of skill from Messi. Barcelona’s flashy players will come and go—see: Ronaldinho—but Catalonia’s most famous onomatopoeia, tiki-taka, remains. Barcelona actually employs an almost mechanical system—the kind of artistic process that Eliot later refers to as “an efficient engine”—that deemphasizes the individual. After all, Eliot says that “poetry…is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality.” The Barcelona system neither caters to a superstar—just look at the emergence of former squad-players like Pedro—nor relies on the particular attributes of any of its players (e.g. Ronaldo’s pace for Real Madrid). On the contrary, each player essentially has the same role: pass and move. At Barcelona, “there is no room for puffed-up, show-boating individuals,” says Iain Rodgers for Reuters Soccer Blog. “The players work as a unit, constantly creating space for each other and harrying the opposition into giving up the ball.” Each player is fungible, for “the emotion of art is impersonal.” Behold! Modernist thought is behind the production-line success of one of the world’s biggest clubs.

    Next Saturday. Cold. The cacophony of metal cleats. Lionel Messi is in a Blaugrana shirt, standing in the tunnel before the game and thinking. He might be thinking about his coach’s pre-game instructions. He might be thinking about the abuse that awaits him from opposing fans. And he might be thinking about how itchy his right shin guard is. But the one thing that Lionel Messi will not be thinking about is the only thing that is guaranteed to happen every single time he plays for Barcelona. Once he steps on the field, he will give up his self-contained existence and open himself up to immediate evaluation, unfair speculation, and comparison to his peers and his predecessors. Once he steps foot on the field, he will shed his individuality and assume the 112 years of his club’s existence, Total Football, tiki-taka—tradition. Once Lionel Messi steps on the field next Saturday, in the cold, amidst the clatter of cleats, he will become modern.

  12. #25
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    Ah ok, makes more sense.
    Agree about Barca being perfect for this kinda thing... maybe Liverpool and Ajax would work too now.
    Last edited by IdleRich; 11-07-2019 at 06:55 PM.

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  14. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lichen View Post
    This is almost the pinnacle of pointyheaded sports writing.

    Although I do think there's a difference between writing like this and just dropping in literary allusions. Is there any thought behind bringing up that Shelley quote when describing Ronaldo? There's more thought behind Ronay's quote, I suppose - especially as Ronaldo IS like a war hero from Homer in some respects. The physical beauty, the arrogance, the indomitable will.

  15. #28
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    Where does Thompson fit into this?

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