Personal Score: Sport, Culture, Identity | Ellen Van Neerven

Personal Score: Sport, Culture, Identity | Ellen Van Neerven

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360 pages | Two Dollar Radio | 4.9.24

A vital and deeply personal testament to self, family, community, culture, and sport.

Award-winning writer Ellen van Neerven plays soccer from a young age, learning early on that while sport can lead to exhilarating experiences and community-building, it can also be a painful and exclusive world. The more they play, the more they realize about sport's troubled relationship with race, gender, and sexuality - and question what it means to play sport on stolen, sovereign land, especially in the midst of multiple environmental crises.

Formidable, poetic, and impassioned, Personal Score is improbably many things at once, simultaneously a rumination on sport, relationship to land, Indigenous rights, trans inclusion, and race. Van Neerven weaves broad cultural touchstones, such as Zinedine Zidane's red card in the 2006 World Cup finals, with quiet moments playing soccer with their family, biking to and from practice, detailing a competitive and amorous relationship with a teammate, and simply enthralled by observing the landscape.

Fierce, original, and also abundantly tender, Personal Score is a ground-breaking book that demonstrates van Neerven's unrivalled talent and courage.

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