Friday, August 31, 2012

MatchDay Culture Wars: Holland V. Turkey

As a new initiative on this site I'll post a quick look ahead at an upcoming World Cup Qualifier match day, in an effort to give fans without a vested interest in the match a choice in who to root for. Matches are picked at random (unless people actually vote in the poll at the right) and may be inspired by research and writing done by any interested students I have.

Giving "Turkey Swiss" a
whole new meaning
THIS WEEK: A guide to the biggest match in the first European Match Day--Holland V.s. Turkey.

On the pitch, there's lots to like about both Holland and Turkey. The Dutch have their Total Futbol style, their epic underdog heritage, their repeated defeats on the world's biggest stage, and their violent orange unis to recommend them. Turkey had an epic run to third place in 2002 and along with a century of great history they also have a rising young midfield talents in Nuri Sahin (Liverpool) and 18 year old Turk-Swiss, wunderkind Kerim Frei (Fulham).

But in case you don't pick your teams based on their talent, you might as well make your pick on two titans of Dutch and Turkish culture. We refer of course to Hall of Fame pitcher Bert Blyleven and Nobel Prize winning author, Orhan Pamuk! Which one is more your style, here are my suggestions.

For fans of complex literature, filled with difficult characters and emotional charged realizations about Islam's place in the Western World. Your choice should be Orhan Pamuk. That's what he does, and he does it darn well.

Don't we all?
But if you prefer fart jokes to literature, and just want a guy who will sit back, swear a little bit, talk about the good ol' days of quarter hot dogs, and never make you feel remotely bad about your creaky math skills. Bert Blyleven is your guy!

If you're someone who digs on subverting authority, never letting the man get them down and speaking truth to power, you'll probably like Pamuk. If you like statistical analyses with your sports and appreciate fine facial hair, you're more likely to go for Blyleven.

Most importantly of all. When choosing a cultural figure to like (and, by association, a team to root for) you should know exactly where they stand on the issue that brought you to this site and article in the first place: FUTBOL!

Pamuk on Futbol (from an interview with Der Spiegel): "The image that I remember most of all is of the Febernace players storming into the stadium before kickoff. They were called the canaries because of their yellow jerseys, it was as if they, like canaries, were fluttering into the stadium out of a hole. I loved it. It was poetry. It's like religion. I can't explain it."

Blyleven on Futbol: "April 6th is my Birthday!"

So, make of that what you will...will you cheer for the literary, rebellious, poetic fan Pamuk and Turkey? or The goofy, stat king, goofy Blyleven and Holland?

The superior team (and, by association, person) will be decided September 7th