chapter
Introduction
A funny old game
WithSteffen Borge
Pages 8

This is a book about the human condition. It is about what seems to be a unique feature or quality of human existence found nowhere else in the animal kingdom – our ability and willingness to engage in sports as practitioners and spectators. We are sporting animals. It is a book about association football, which is known throughout most of the world simply as football. It is about how we can understand our fascination with the so-called beautiful game within a broader philosophical framework. Despite its global exposure, our engagement in football is a curious thing. Win or lose, life goes on for most in much the same way it did before Saturday’s match or the end of a league campaign. Still, we care about it. Many of us care a lot. Some of us care too much. The football phenomenon is explained by considering the character, nature, analysis and aesthetics of the game. Football, it is argued, is fictional in character, and its nature is being a social historical kind. The analysis reveals sport to be an extra-ordinary, unnecessary, rule-based, competitive, skill-based physical activity, and in the aesthetics of football, drama or the dramatic takes centre stage.