I suppose all of this started as curiosity.
I’ve always had a surplus of that, and it’s taken me a lot of places. Like a train ride through Siberia, for one, and a summer spent in Myanmar, for another.
As I lived abroad and traveled further, football became an interesting lens to consider the world with. And so I fell deep inside.
From Thailand to Honduras to South Africa, I’ve attended games and talked to people. I’ve stood in pubs and sat with supporters and watched from the press box.
Along the way, it became clear to me: this little old ball tells unique stories.
It tells stories that capture how we are similar. It describes with clarity our difference. On a global scale, it’s political, inextricable from the places each team plays in. It reveals the underbelly. It scratches beneath. Every match has newsprint for where a community is in that moment.
Also, it’s fun, and romantic. Hitch-hiking here, sleeping on couches there, showing up unannounced, meeting people, asking questions.
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Ostensibly, this newsletter is about soccer. I’ll certainly be writing about it. But I’ll be scratching at all the rest of it— the people, the places, the things otherwise difficult to say.
I believe no other sport (and few things beyond it) captures the essence of my unique, expansive nation. No other sport captures how that nation relates to all the rest of them.
As Anthony Bourdain once said about food, sometimes you just need to have a meal with somebody to discover what their whole world is like. I feel the same way about football.
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Thanks for joining me, if you do.