Thursday, July 22, 2010

What Else I'm Working On

There is a book project I'm currently working on; been plugging away at it since January. If you've ever been to a bookstore and examined the selection on soccer- the Americans among you, at least- there isn't much to speak of. At all. Most of the books are just a bunch of youth drills, and most of the rest is completely World Cup-oriented.

Not much if anything on the club scene, which is what largely goes on the rest of the four year cycle, if anything at all. And the rare time you do see it, it's just general platitudes about Great Clubs of the World, and very little of which does anything to actually tell you about any of them. Imagine reading this about the New York Yankees:


Home: Bronx, NY
Colors: Navy blue, white
Founded: 1901
Titles (27): 1923, 1927, 1928, 1932, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1941, 1943, 1947, 1949, 1959, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1977, 1978, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2009

"The New York Yankees have won more World Series than any other team in MLB. Their greatest period was in the 1920's, when, led by players such as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Tony Lazzeri, and manager Miller Huggins, they won the 1927 World Series with 110 wins. Over the years many other great players have been Yankees, such as Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jackson, Derek Jeter, and Mariano Rivera. They have played in Yankee Stadium, the second such park by that name, since 2009."

Bland as hell, isn't it? It talks about the Yankees, but it doesn't say a thing. It doesn't say who Babe Ruth is, or any of the others. It doesn't tell about the first Yankee Stadium, it doesn't mention the Red Sox rivalry, nothing that could tell you who the team IS. If you're just getting into baseball, you've learned nothing.

But that's pretty much what you tend to get for soccer bios, though usually in a longer form.

Now, for TV Tropes' writeup on the same team.

"The New York Yankees: Current defending champs. If you can name only one Baseball team, it probably is this one. Being the most sucessful team in the World Series era (27 titles) and the fact that it is based in the Big Applesauce have combined to make the Yankees the most popular team in America.... and the least popular team in America. You must, by internet law, either hate them with a passion that rivals the love you have of your own team or be a obnoxious, unpleasable pinstripe-wearing fan. An entire industry exists of anti-Yankee media, and although primarily centered in Boston, it thrives throughout North America, including New York itself. The same thing goes for pro-Yankee media. Depending on your point of view, is either The Evil Empire or The Chosen Team. Team owners George Steinbrenner and his sons are, however, universally considered an example of Evil Overlord (or at least a Mean Boss), while Lou Gehrig is universally beloved. This is not a new phenomenon. The play Damn Yankees!, about a man who hates them so much he sells his soul to the Devil to beat them, was written over fifty years ago. Notable for having not one (Ruth), not two (Gehrig), not three (DiMaggio), but four (Mickey Mantle) names in the argument for best baseball player ever."

Less about the vital stats, but you come away knowing a hell of a lot more about the team. This is basically the format I'm trying to follow, including the one-paragraph limit- it keeps me focused on what's really important to know about a team, and it also serves to keep any one team from overpowering any other team.

Because I'm doing what is primarily a guide to adopting a club soccer team, and I'm going through hundreds and hundreds of clubs. Far, far beyond 'great clubs of the world'. What about everybody else? What about all the teams those Great Clubs of the World had to step on to get where they are? Soccer doesn't stop at Manchester United.

Let's put it this way: so far I'm on Team #371, with no real end in sight. Two of the clubs done so far are from Botswana. Two more are from Haiti. Another is from the Faroe Islands. By the end I intend to have every single FIFA nation covered with at least one team apiece. (Again, they're why I'm instituting a one-paragraph limit. Yes, Manchester United deserves infinitely more accolades than, say, Presidente Hayes of Paraguay. But there should be at least one place where a lesser team gets to be on par with the big guns. Besides, why obscure the fact that Rutherford B. Hayes, of all Presidents, is the one to get a soccer team named after him? And in Paraguay?)

Just so you're aware, this is what I'm doing IN ADDITION to the blog. Any time I post little more than a YouTube clip, that's probably why.

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