Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0001334, Tue, 1 Oct 1996 19:38:37 -0700

VN & Football (fwd)
From: Ben Walsh <benw@meta.dublin.iona.ie>

In today's Guardian, a quote which reminds me of "Pale Fire"

"... asthmatic, lame and fat
I never bounced a ball or swung a bat".

The poet John Shade, of course, would have referred to American Football or
Basketball in the first part, Baseball in the second. Of course, the
megalomaniac Kinbote assumes him to mean the European games soccer and
cricket. VN himself is quoted in a review of "In the Way! Goalkeepers: A
Breed Apart?" on the subject - this book apparently details the goalkeeping
exploits of such as Camus (who served on the Algerian national team), Pope
JP II and Julio Ingelsias. VN had this to say on the subject of goalkeeping:

"The far blurred sounds, a cry, a whistle, the thud of a kick, all that was
perfectly unimportant and had no connection with me. I was less the keeper
of a soccer goal than the keeper of a secret. As with folded arms I leant
my back against the left goalpost I enjoyed the luxury of closing my eyes
... Small wonder I was not very popular with my team-mates".

"Small wonder," opines the reviewer, on Nick Hazlewood, "he never played for
Russia". The image is certainly an enduring one.