Saturday, 26 February 2011

The classic quest story?

This weekend finds an unexpected sense of excitement crackling through our house. On Sunday afternoon, I'll be walking my son down Wembley way to his first cup final. We'll be setting off early to soak up the atmosphere, making the most of the occasion and the hours of pre-match optimism while we can still dream, before the game kicks-off, and reality kicks-in.
A first cup final beckons
I did wonder if I should even mention the match here – this is, after all, a blog about stories. But then it occurred to me that football and fiction might have more in common than we think. I mean, what is a cup final if not the classic quest story? All the ingredients are there: a closely knit band of brothers (a fellowship if you will) in search of a mythical trophy (believe me, if you're a Blues fan, such trophies are indeed the stuff of legend). These protagonists are watched over by an older, slightly enigmatic figure, guiding them with words of wisdom from the sidelines. We have conflict, an adversary – larger, more powerful than our plucky heroes. There is a beginning, a middle and an end; a repeating series of try/fail cycles where our players attempt to use what skills they have to achieve their aims; we have characters, heroes and villains: the angry one; a young hopeful; the mercurial maverick; the legendary almost magical one; the unlikely hero waiting on the bench. As for the setting – what could be more dramatic and evocative than a full football stadium? That palpable sense of anticipation, hope and fear, carried across the floodlit field by a hundred thousand voices raised in song. If you want a story of adventure, a struggle against the odds, containing heroism, deceit, glory and failure … a cup final might not be a bad place to start.


  1. I have loathed Arsenal since they won the league in 1989. I'm with the blues (even if I had to go and check on the BBC website who was playing).

  2. Congrats on your (and I know that it was all down to you!) fairy-tale win!

  3. A fairy-tale ending indeed! I still can't quite believe it.