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In 2008, Dave Bidini accompanies Homeless Team Canada to the Homeless World Cup—an annual street soccer tournament with goals unlike any other: the most important of which is to create life-changing opportunities for the millions of homeless people worldwide. In Melbourne, Australia, Bidini watches team members play and shares the disappointments, frustrations, joys, and triumphs of forty-five-year-old Billy, who is a former addict; the quick-footed twenty-four-year-old Moroccan immigrant Juventus, who refuses to talk about his past; and most of all, the endearing teenaged Krystal, who carries a photograph of her long-dead mother and dreams of a better life.
Bidini begins to understand what this tournament means to all those involved. He sees firsthand the power of sport to transform the lives of those on the edge—how the decision to play this game can mean the difference between survival and heading down a road of addiction, poverty, or crime. Home and Away offers a powerful look at the poor and dispossessed, from the barrios of Mexico City and the shanties of West Africa to the streets of North America and Europe, illuminating the renewed meaning that these players find in such an inspiring game.
About the Author
Dave Bidini is the author of nine books, two documentary films, and one play. He is a columnist for the Toronto Star and the National Post. His first book in the sports genre, Tropic of Hockey, was named one of the Top 100 Canadian Books of All-Time by McClelland and Stewart, and his baseball odyssey, Baseballissimo, is currently being made into a feature film. Bidini is a board member of Street Soccer Canada and has attended two Homeless World Cups, traveling with Team Canada to Melbourne and Milan. He lives in Toronto, Canada, with his wife and their two children.
Chronicling the wins – and losses – at the Homeless World Cup
Boston.Com Book Review – August 19, 2011 (Excerpt)
The first Homeless World Cup, which included 18 teams, happened in Graz, Austria, in 2003. A Scot named Mel Young and an Austrian named Harald Schmied organized the event to raise awareness of homelessness through soccer. Since the former is a worldwide problem, and the latter is a game played nearly everywhere, they figured the match was a natural.
By the time Dave Bidini, a Canadian, got involved with the players his country sent to the Homeless World Cup in 2008, there were 56 teams. The 2011 edition – which begins this weekend in Paris – will include 64 teams from 53 countries. Homelessness, like soccer, is thriving.
Homeless soccer players bent on international travel face singular obstacles. Passengers whose official papers are criminal records and prescriptions for methadone make the authorities edgy. Conveying even a small team (they play 4 on 4, rather than 11 on 11) of homeless players to a tournament presents a challenge, as does the tendency of some homeless people to vanish, whether or not they play soccer. [Read the full article...]
AMERICAN MALE PROSTITUTE
How I (Almost) Got A Book Deal Through Sex, Lies, And Deceit
Stuart Martin Berry has only three months left to find a publisher for his first novel. In a desperate attempt to reach his goal he leaves his home to live in New York. His wife has given him free rein to do whatever it takes to get a book deal. Her only request was not to give her any details on how he got there. If he fails he will be forced to give up his dream of being a famous writer and take a regular forty hour a week job. For Stuart this is sufficient motivation to start a three month adventure full of sex, lies, and deceit, without losing focus of the ultimate goal. When he finally reaches the finish line, he has evolved and become a top expert in the publishing world.
The question remains, what does it take these days to get a book deal with a traditional publisher? What do you do when, hypothetically, you are running out of time and mere talent is not the be-all and end-all?
Stuart Martin Berry has found the answer: If you can’t impress them with your talent, baffle them with your bull-shit. [Read more, including an excerpt]
American Male Prostitute is available at Amazon.Com, Amazon.co.uk, Barnes & Noble, and any other good bookstore.