Perhaps that's because on my continent, most major-league cities have just one team in each sport. That means fewer politico-religious divides like that between Celtic and Rangers in Glasgow, and fewer teams with noxious political associations like Italy's Lazio.
I thought of this most recently when I came across the following in Manuel Vázquez Montalbán's novel The Man of My Life. The protagonist, Pepe Carvalho, recalls a stage comedy with Catalan nationalist undertones from his youth:
"It was the period when the Catalan language was undergoing a timid revival, and the Franco authorities allowed the play to be put on in church halls. Despite the restrictions, the actors usually managed to insert a few subversive jokes. Carvalho recalled how the Devil, defeated yet again by the Archangel Michael, and flattened on the stage with the angel's foot on his back, lifted his head a couple of inches and shouted: `Miquel! Miquel! Sembles el Real Madrid, que sempre vol guanyar!"*It will surprise no one to learn that Vázquez Montalbán was both a man of the left and an FC Barcelona supporter. In fact, I may prepare a post on why Vázquez Montalbán's politics are so engaging.
* Michael! Michael! You're like Real Madrid, you always want to win!
© Peter Rozovsky 2009