For the readings this week, we get to take a dive into Kittelson’s book, The Country of Football: Soccer and the Making of Modern Brazil. In this book we get to see the history of soccer in Brazil and how it has helped shape the past and the present of Brazil. From racial issues of what defines “blackness”, to political issues, to different cups fighting it out both physically and when it comes to playing the sport. The intro even points out how at times, the nostalgia of the sport has lost its touch a bit. One thing is clear from the intro and that is that soccer is ingrained to the culture of Brazil and will forever be a part of it, on all levels of life. While the rise of the Brazil to winning multiple World Cups has been more of the background of this story, one cannot forget to mention just how promising Brazil was. From wins in the late 50’s, early 60’s, to the their most recent in 2002, the national soccer team has made its impact on the sport. When it comes to the societal impact we see how race relations have played out. Players like Garrincha and Pele became the focus of media scrutiny do to being Afro-Brazilian which ties into the definition of blackness that was brought up in the intro. Race relations were being handled differently throughout the world as the media would begin to expand and more eyes were put on countries throughout the world. Like in the U.S. the Civil Rights movement was beginning to pick up and African Americans were still under attack because of their skin color. Nonetheless, players like Garrincha and Pele would go on to pave the way for Brazil’s rise on the world stage and would prove to be very important in soccer’s rise. Though Pele would eventually become the bigger star, both helped Brazil dominate. Both Pele and Garrincha helped define a new style of soccer called futbol-forca (soccer strength) and futbol-arte(soccer art). Garrincha would be considered the strength on the soccer field, while Pele would be considered the beauty thanks to the way each played. While they would go on to define their own careers, play styles, and win more world cups, the country as a whole would have a problem. Brazil would have one problem though, and it was comparing itself to Europe. The book tell us that commentators in Brazil, “the idolized Europe and their own tropical nation had been a crucial nation throughout the nineteenth century. The modernity of Europe amazed and wowed the people of this tropical nation, so it became almost an achievement of sorts to be like Europe. But thanks to the stars of Brazil, they achieved what the chapter is, as their own mature modernity. Thanks to these few men, Brazil was able to show the world the melting pot it was and how the game of soccer brought them together. Though the country itself would face harsh moments thanks to social and political change, the country itself was able to show what that got and have a small moment of patriotism.

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