Much of the humor in this book comes from the agon which Black goes through in trying to accept the heretical notion that he is living in a culture in which his sport is treated as a quaint irrelevance, a denatured means by which parents can send their little treasures out to get exercise and learn "teamsmanship" in a non-competitive setting.
Alan Blacks hilarious memoir, Kick the Balls, reminded me of George Carlins rants against these last generations of growing-ever-softer, Americans. I love his rant on Dockers pants turning a generation of American men sterile. Like Carlin, Black refers to our collective complacency in letting these last generations go Softy-Serve flaccid. There again, Blacks reference to Dockers: If youre not wearing Dockers, youre just wearing pants. Carlins spiel of kids riding without bike helmets is classic and Black does a great job recalling how Everyone-who-shows-up-gets-a-trophy attitude is one that will only come back to bite all our backsides if we dont do something to reverse this puff-puff society.
The metric system is pretty much only used to refer to illicit drugs, but almost every American kid in the suburbs plays in a soccer league at least once. Alan Black's "Kick The Balls" is about his adventures coaching a kids' soccer league, yes.
Some parts were funny and I enjoy reading about soccer because it's my favorite sport.
There are very few writers who are (pardon my language) as ballsy as Alan Black is in the book Kick the Balls. His commentary crosses many social boundaries: he offends Muslims, Christians, soccer moms, Americans, the Irish, and Dockers pants-wearers everywhere. Kick the Balls is a comparison of cultures across two very different time period. Alan, the book's main character, feels that the easiest way to earn the adoration of his neighbors is to coach the local little league soccer team. Alan grew up in the slums of Ireland where remnants of the Protestant-Catholic war are part of daily life, both on and off the soccer field. In Ireland, gunmen harassed the children on the soccer field regularly. Alan stood up for himself and his friends by kicking an assailant with a soccer ball. Despite the passion Black had for soccer as a child in Ireland, his new team in America didnt share his toughness. Blacks characters in Kick the Balls are prime examples of how baby-fied America has become and how overly protected our children are. I can only imagine how frustrated Black was to find himself trying to adjust to a culture where children were babied, soccer was for girls, and no one could understand his accent. He insulted me because I realize that Im American from a wimpy generation, and I am sure he will offend anyone who reads this book.
Now in today's world we as parents need to realise that as populations increase the chances of our children making it in the professional sporting world is as much chance as winning lotto and in New Zealand that is a one in thirty eight million chance. Look in New Zealand alone in any one season there are 10,000 players playing at the premier level and able to be selected for those 180 positions.
To get the full rush, you need to hear Alan in your head as you read. Here's your recipe: (1) read the book up until the first time you laugh outloud (make him earn the $24 fercrissakes), (2) after that first laugh, go to http://dublit.com/search?filter0=Alan... (or just www.dublit.com then search on Alan Black audio shorts) (3) listen to one or two readings.
Alan Black, himself a square peg from Glasgow, Scotland, tries to jam himself into the round hole of life in the posh, politically correct suburbs of the Bay Area by coaching what may be the worst peewee soccer team of all time.
An angry Scotsman coaches youth soccer. Anyone who has coached youth sports will find a lot that's familiar.