Monday, October 20, 2008

A matter of perspective

I watched Australia playing Qatar the other night. What a bag of shite. Great result, fantastic result. World Cup Qualification looms closer ’n closer. Which is fantastic, right? Right? The answer’s simple innit? It’s…


And no.

40,000 people turned up to watch an international football match in Brisbane on a (really) wet (by Queensland standards) and (really) cold (you see where this is going…) Wednesday night. A school night!

It’s incredible. Five years ago you’d have been lucky to get people to pay to watch football in Brisbane on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon. For the tormented creature that is Australian football, attracting 40,000 people on a brisk rainy midweek evening is the equivalent of having Jessica Alba (or George Clooney depending on your tastes) chapping your front door at six o’clock in the morning and, while your still wearing your breakfast head, asking, “Please let me take you away from all this?” Then, jetting you to a luxurious island in the Pacific where you’d have drinks and get naked and she’d call Jessica (Biel) and Angelina and you’d all have a party (read: Brad Pitt, Viggo Mortensen and, I don’t know, Danny Glover? if you’d prefer it not to be girls) before she dropped you back home with a Chicken Tikka Masala each for you n whoever's waiting for you at home.

I know. Sorry. I get carried away. Danny Glover was probably stretching things a bit.

But for Football Australia that what’s happened. And it will happen again should it be allowed to.

The flip side, the dark foreseeable problem side, is if Australia do qualify for the World Cup (and thesimplesgame thinks they will), we’ll all go mental!

We’ll celebrate, party, cavort and even maybe, gallivant. Then we’ll raise our levels of expectation to new highs and, inevitably, have them smashed to pieces when they don’t qualify for the second stage, like they, so luckily, did last time.

Then, as we leave it behind us, we’ll get all optimistic and philosophical. “Better luck next time,” we’ll say and, “we had a bloody good try, didn’t we?” And then two years later when qualification comes round…it’s on for young n old.

Imagine the pressure there’s going to be to qualify a third time? Imagine the pasting the Socceroos will get if they don’t qualify? Football Australia would be lucky to get a cuppa tea of my Nan if it happens.

Look, most importantly, last week’s game was a win. A dull, solid win against a team we should say less about. But let’s not get too excited. It was the first time thesimplestgame have ever seen a team, any team, score four goals in a game and still bore the living shit out of just about any football fan who was unfortunate enough to bear witness, BUT, it’s still a win and we should enjoy it. So long as we do it for what it is worth.

Which brings me to this week’s football fictive business. Now I’m talking about the parameters of the genre now. This weeks subject is perspective. Point Of View.

At present there is a bit of a pattern. I looked into a bit during my Masters. I’ve read books in first person (I kicked the ball), second person (you kicked the ball), limited third person (she kicked the ball) and omniscient third person (she kicked the ball and the goalie saved it. He thought, Yes! I’m a brilliant goalie. Dirty Bastard.) First person is a popular choice for authors, but limited third person is the most popular. I reckon it’s down to the fact that most football fiction is about or by spectators, observers rather than participants. But I’m going to come back to that. Because it also raises questions about the kinds of characters involved.

While your waiting on Jessica or George chapping your door or until levels of expectations will have changed so dramatically 40,000 on a Wednesday night will be commonplace, you could maybe have a think about the POV in the last piece of football fiction you read yourself. Maybe let me know about it.

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