The Fever Pitch Experiment

You probably already know (or if you don’t, we’re telling you) that Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby is required reading for anyone, on either side of the pond, who considers themselves a fan of the beautiful game. In fact, we’re so confident in its powers of persuasion that we’re using it as the bedrock of this little social experiment. Our hypothesis: we can convert a non-fan into a soccer follower. Not just a non-footy fan, but someone who — by their own admission — just can’t understand how people can get so excited about any game.

In this case, Fever Pitch is like the gateway drug: the bridge between our subject’s comfort zone and the bizarre world of supporterdom. But we’re not going to stop at getting her to read a book. Our goal: full-blown conversion. Did we succeed? Is there any hope for a non-sports-fan in trying to understand what goes on in the mind of a footie fanatic? This experiment stretched over eight months, and we hope you’ll like what we’ve found.

Part 1: We introduce the experiment and our subject, Emma. Plus we fry some bacon. (02/23)

Part 2: With the reading not coming along at the pace we’d like, we skip ahead a few steps and try to foist a couple of mid-table Premiership sides onto Emma, hoping she’ll spontaneously develop a rooting interest. (03/14)

Part 3: It’s a big day. Emma takes a big bite out of the book, and watches a full Premiership match, and picks a team to support! Read about all this, plus horses and hand-rolled cigarettes. (03/25)

Part 4: The book progress slows to a crawl, but the footie bug has gotten under Emma’s skin, and is beginning to dictate her every thought and action. That’s a bit extreme, but if her facebook status updates are any indication, the experiment is working… (04/15)

Part 5: For the first time, Emma watches her adopted team play a full match from within the normally-raucous confines of Scallywags. If the on-field action doesn’t win her over, maybe the “soccer breakfast” will… (08/24)

Part 6: In the thrilling conclusion of this ridiculous saga, Emma decides once and for all whether the soccer bug has truly infected her… or, at least, whether she can understand why others might get sick from it. (10/30)


11 Responses to “The Fever Pitch Experiment”

  1. […] The Fever Pitch Experiment, Part 3 (To get caught up with the experiment thus far, click here.) […]

  2. […] The Fever Pitch Experiment, Part 4 (To get caught up on the experiment so far, click here.) […]

  3. […] Emma, via text: “Who won? I can’t find any results online… who’s not speaking to who?” We had hoped Emma could have joined us today, but apparently she had to buy a purse. Seriously. […]

  4. […] Weekend update / Saturday footie TV sked We yammered on during last week’s podcast about how we would be live blogging the Chelsea Fulham game from Scallywags on Saturday morning, featuring Emma, our newly converted Fulham supporter via the Fever Pitch Experiment. […]

  5. […] row of section 113, most of the red scarf-clad, yelling-and-screaming lot (including myself, Jamie, Emma, Rollins, Sam and a number of other Vs) congregated into a makeshift supporter section at the top […]

  6. […] must also mention our good friends Emma and Gormsey for putting up with all manners of bullshit in the course of this website’s […]

  7. […] Fever Pitch Experiment, Part 6: The Thrilling Conclusion [Probably a good idea to get up to speed on the first five parts of the experiment before reading the thrilling […]

  8. […] would have recommended Fever Pitch, but okay. I had already read Chuck Culpepper’s “Bloody Confused,” an account of […]

  9. […] today I can smile at the snow (even if some people can’t) knowing that once the hard, frostbitten months ahead have subsided, there is actually […]

  10. […] African Cup of Nations, held in Ghana, which a friend of ours happened to attend. She, much like another friend of ours, is a newcomer to the beautiful game, and her experience in 2008 helped open her eyes to the […]

  11. […] number of games during this World Cup, I’ve now enlisted our friend and burgeoning soccer fan “Fever Pitch” Emma to provide quick thoughts on some of the teams taking part in this year’s […]

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