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So, for those of you not interested in football (soccer to those across both ponds), this weekend heralded the start of the new Premiership season. It was an interesting one, with the usual load of controversies, cards, injuries and the odd unexpected result. And what, I hear you ask, does this have to do with reading or writing?

Well, sport has its moments, to be sure, and for those of us that are interested, the possibilities for inspiration plentiful. But you don’t have to care about any sport to be inspired. And here’s a small list of whys:

    1. A large number of non-sport related genres could do with a little common interest or disinterest to keep the story arc going. For example, the sport-romance ‘Blocked‘ by Jennifer Lane uses volleyball to link two otherwise polar opposite characters, while the romance ‘Close of Play‘ has cricket as a distraction for one of the characters.
    2. It’s a study in emotion. There is more to sport than the sport: just watching a post-match interview after a controversial match is an amazing way to see how people hold it together under pressure (in football, they get fined for criticising the referee) or not (they sometimes forget/ don’t care that they’ll get fined for criticising the ref).
    3. Crowd mentality. It’s a much disapproved fact of life that people in crowds do things that those same people would never do outside the crowd. This can apply as much to fantasy and young adult (Harry Potter and Half Bad being prime examples) as it can to sport.
    4. There’s also the classic ‘personality bending’, typical at things like World Cups and Olympic Games, where people normally uninterested in sport jump in and celebrate. And what’s wrong with that?

Want to know more? I highly recommend Future Learn’s course on Football, and Coursera’s on Sport and Society and The Global Business of Sports (all free).

And yes, all of these apply to sport enthusiasts too. Because, let’s face it, no-one is one-dimensional…