The short story “May the Best Man Win” by Kit de Waal, follows a linear, chronological structure of the plot. The entire story revolves around one evening at an English pub.
The story begins in medias res, with the arrival of four white strangers, who brought a television to the pub.
Everyone is surprised to see the four white men, because the pub is usually frequented by colored people. The white bartender Patti notices them.
Her black boyfriend, Fitz, challenge one of the white men, Eddie who is referred to as “the king”. After they got the television to work, they all watch a boxing match between Muhammed Ali, whom the king cheers on.
The other people at the bar starts to show interest in the boxing match, but some of them cheers for the opposite fighter. Through out the match it becomes clear that Ali is going to lose, and when he does, people start to express sympathy for the king.
The other main character in story, Eddie Lovett has blue, bright eyes, “…long hair, light brown with streaks painted here and there of grey and blonde.
A lovely face, strong as a man’s should be.” (p. 5 l. 34-36). This shows that he’s a middle-aged man. The fact that he wears formal clothing and just brought himself “… a new telly for the occasion” (p. 2 l. 40) suggest that he’s pretty wealthy.
He’s friendly and sociable towards the black men at the pub, even though he’s aware of the crowd’s prejudice.
Eddie appears to be accepting and he doesn’t appear condescending to the other people, even though he’s probably richer than the people at the bar.
He acknowledges the other people as individuals and after the match he remains friendly and smiling, although Ali lost.
The short story “May the Best Man Win” by Kit de Waal takes place in a pub in Birmingham called The Carpenter’s Arms.
Inasmuch as the story take place during the famous boxing match between Muhammed Ali and Trevor Berbick it’s easy to conclude the exact date of the story (December 11, 1981).
The pub is described as a place, where it’s pretty much the same customers every day. Therefore, outsiders aren’t welcomed.