Down here in the south, football is taken seriously. Perhaps more than it rightly should be. You declare allegiance to a college team at birth and stick with them through thick and thin.
Is this a good thing or bad? It depends. Some people love the rivalries; some people hate them. Some people enjoy the mania every fall yet take it in stride. But other people live or die by their team’s win or loss record.
That’s why I wanted to read this new novel by a former college football player Mark Salter, Sins of the Tribe.
Although Salter’s story is about the fictional Bastille University Tribe football team, you could easily substitute the University of Alabama or Auburn University. In Sins of the Tribe, Wally Hestia is recruited to play for Bastille University because he is the sole holder for his fellow teammate and mentally disabled brother Henry, a natural kicking all-star.
All goes well until the team’s coaching staff takes a turn for the worse, opening up Wally’s eyes to the underside of rabid sports fandom and the multimillion dollar industry that it supports.
The novel calls into question how far we’ll go to keep our team on top. At what point does morality draw a line? Or for some people, never come into play?
While the story is centered around sports tribalism, we could easily substitute other tribalisms as well: politics, country, religion, etc.
The novel’s theme of tribalism sounds a dire warning: We need to check who we’re giving our loyalty to.
It’s enough to keep me away from Facebook on game day.
How are the sports fans where you live? Share in the comments.
My thanks to NetGalley
for the review copy of this book.
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