Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy (2009)

Declan kicked two glorious goals over the first quarter, but by the start of the second the strain on his body was starting to become apparent. The commentators were very pleased with themselves that they had a potential tragedy unfolding on the ground that they could talk about endlessly (p 99).

A large part of my love for the New York Mets baseball team (even in their darkest hours – of which there are many) is due to the excellent commentating by Gary Cohen, Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez and Kevin Burkhardt.  I’ve been hammered to tears by some commentators and their soap opera coverage of the tiniest disruption in a game. Remember when Brett Farve was injured?

As a hard-core sports fan disinclined to the melodramatic, I appreciated Simon’s snarkyness. And anyone who can work a Buffy reference into his/her snarky remarks gets points from me.

I sighed, watching the bags start to spill out onto the rubber tracks. “I got jumped by the press in the car park.”
Roger’s eyes widened. “Was there a rumble?”
Fran hid her smile behind her hand.
“Yes, there was a rumble. Luckily this cute blonde girl came out of nowhere and staked them for me” (p 286-87).

Tigers and DevilsSo it was with a smile that I read about Simon, a twenty-something film festival coordinator, and his tumultuous relationship with star footy player Declan Tyler. When Roger and his wife Fran drag Simon to a party, he acts the wallflower and hopes for a swift departure. Then he overhears someone bad mouthing Declan. Simon defends Declan’s playing but writes him off as appearing arrogant, unaware Declan is also at the party and eavesdropping. This meeting sparks a passionate but troubled relationship. Declan is not ‘out’ though Simon is. Declan is injured and anxious to make a return to the football field but he plays for an out-of-town team.

But Simon’s happiness is palpable. It brought me back to the first days of my current relationship.

On the tram ride home I smiled to myself like a loon and got the usual wide berth that the other passengers afforded to public transport crazies (p 25).

Folks who enjoyed David Levithan in their teens will enjoy Tigers and Devils as emerging adults. The book is a lot of dialog and a little description but it avoids over-analysis (which I always appreciate!) so it’s highly readable. I enjoyed learning about Australian football (which I researched a little on my own) and Australian slang and tradition. ‘Bog-off-to-the-Pub Fridays’ is something I hope to impliment at my workplace 🙂

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