Nick Hornby may seem like an odd person to reference in a column about a Scotland’s constitutional future but bear with me, I promise it will make sense.
In his classic autobiography about obsession, for it is barely a sports book, the London-born author writes of his relationship with his father: “Football may have provided us with a new medium through which we could communicate, but that was not to say that we used it, or what we chose to say was necessarily positive.”
Substitute the word “football” for “independence referendum” and you understand where Scottish politics is at this current point in time.
We are hurtling towards a second vote on whether or not we want to remain part of the UK.
Pro-Union parties may argue it should not happen but they have accepted it is coming.
You only need to look at the language and the arguments being deployed to see that they are slowly cranking into campaign mode, awaiting both the demand from Nicola Sturgeon and the response from Theresa May.
So while we are back to debating oil revenues at Holyrood – Thursday past’s question time session could have taken place in March 2014 rather than this spring, three years later – the intense speculation inside the political bubble is about when the shadow boxing will stop and the real fight begin.
Never mind the fact that no one in the real world seems particularly bothered, this is all that is on the mind of those people whose lives revolve around focus groups, opinion polls and committee meetings.
As such, all of those eyes are on the First Minister’s speech to the SNP conference, which takes place in Aberdeen this weekend.
Except it is extremely unlikely any big announcement will come then.
Why would Nicola Sturgeon preach to the converted when she really needs to convince a small number of floating voters?
These are the people likely to be put off by flags and face paint, so the next pro-independence campaign has to strike the right tone if is to have any hope of winning them over.
Anyone savvy enough to be a regular Courier reader will know from our report a fortnight ago that senior figures within the SNP are uncomfortable with a conference announcement.
But they say the clinching factor on timing could be there being no mention of a separate Scottish deal in the notice period for EU membership.
That means if Theresa May, as is being speculated, triggers Article 50, the formal process for leaving the European Union, this week then all bets are off.
This makes a last minute announcement of a press conference at Bute House, the First Minister’s official residence, all the more curious.
Journalists will gather on Monday morning to hear and then ask questions about a speech on Article 50. Beyond that small detail, lips are tight at the top of government.
Could this be the day? It seems unlikely given the key trigger has not been pulled but ruling anything out in this tumultuous time is a risky move.
The battle lines have certainly been drawn. It’s “right wing Tory government/hard Brexit” versus “£15 billion deficit/austerity max”.
So studs are already showing and we haven’t even reached the official kick off time for a fresh referendum.
The First Minister has the whistle, while the Prime Minister could – but probably won’t – abandon the match.
With so much at stake we can expect some beautiful play and plenty of red mist.
As promised, it’s back to Hornby. We are nearing Fever Pitch. Game on.