March 15-16: Author, scholar, and journalist David Goldblatt became the second FSF author to visit Michigan State University in person. We had a lively discussion on the second half of his sacred text of football history: The Ball is Round. and learned more about David’s new project on the cultural politics of football in Britain since 1989.
February 24: Professional soccer in the U.S.A. took center stage with a session devoted to the documentary film Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos. GolTV commentator and former NASL midfielder Ray Hudson braved the “football think-tank,” answering questions in the inimitable style he brings to broadcasting a Clásico. “We had it all, man!” said Hudson looking back fondly to his playing days with the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers.
September 26: Our first fall meeting was an exciting affair. It revolved around Javier Pescador’s new work on Mexican fans of “El Tri” in the United States. The uses of wrestling masks, Aztec symbols, churrosand other markers of Mexican-ness demonstrate some of the ways in which fans are helping to transform the Mexican national team into a global brand.
November 7: FSF members met to discuss a selection of chapters from Ted Richards’s edited volume, Soccer and Philosophy: Beautiful Thoughts on the Beautiful Game.The conversation began with Ted discussing the book’s genesis and quickly moved into exploring the potential of aesthetics and morality on the field to speak to deeper issues in philosophy and the human condition. Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal, the topic of FSF member David Kilpatrick’s chapter in the volume, served as a useful example for participants to discuss style, Nietzsche, and economics.
December 5: FSF members discussed Jun Stinson’s documentary film The 90th Minute. We were joined by Gwen Oxenham, the producer of Pelada and author of Finding the Game: Three Years, Twenty-five Countries, and the Search for Pickup Soccer. Participants in the session listened to Peter Alegi’s interview with Jun and Gwen’s reflections on the film, as well as her perspective on women’s professional soccer. Discussion topics also included international comparisons; salary inequities; limited media coverage; fan loyalty and other significant challenges facing the new league to launch in the U.S. in early 2013.