Friday, February 03, 2006

sprechen sie fußball?

18 weeks to the start of the World Cup Finals 2006 in Germany, and I feel duty bound to spread the word about the planet’s most popular sport’s biggest festival, so I will post every Friday until after the tournament is over.

To start you off, I will re-hash a post from March of last year, when I explore my early years of following soccer, or hang on I’d better say football…


Here’s a story about something I used to do when I was young and bored.

It would only last about 10-15 seconds, but in that time, I was The Greatest Footballer In The World.

First, let me be clear on what I mean by “football”. There are several sports out there that go by this name, but as far as I’m concerned, most should be prosecuted under the Trade Descriptions Act.

Association Football, or “soccer” as the Americans call it, is the ONLY game that can be legitimately referred to as “football”. Why? Em, because the BALL is primarily propelled by the FOOT, duh!!! There’s your association! All the other sports should be re-named, and here are some suggestions….

“Rugby” is often called football. No way. If anything it should be “carry-ball”. Have you ever tried kicking a rugby ball? The damn thing can go anywhere! No wonder that dude William Webb Ellis decided to pick it up and run with it – he was the only one who had any sense!!!

“American football” is no more deserving of the name. That should be re-named “wear-too-much-padding-and-take-ad-breaks-every-ten-seconds-ball”. A bit long winded I know, but I’m sure there are clever people out there who can chop it down to a more marketable nickname.

“Gaelic football” should be renamed “murder-ball”. While I am sure that there may very well be many balls kicked out there on the field during play, I would venture few are of the leather variety.

“Australian Rules Football” has TWO names that need changing, since it does not appear to have any rules. I thus recommend “chaos-ball”. The misshapen lump of leather seems to be passed in all directions until everyone gets thirsty for a few tinnies.

One thing I will say about the Aussies is that they have by far and away the best and most honest sports commentators.

Here’s an example: imagine David Beckham, arguably one of the most high profile (real) football players in the world, is taking a free-kick close to the goal, a situation which is his forte, and one which normally ends up in him stroking an immaculate shot curling into the top corner of the goal past the despairing lunge of the goalie.

Let’s say this time, for argument’s sake, he makes a complete mess of his kick, and sends the ball soaring towards the back row of the stands.

What would a British commentator say? Master of the understatement, it would no doubt be something like this: “Oh, my word, he WON’T be too pleased with that.” No kidding!!!!

And an American? He would probably blind you with stats. “Yes, well that’s concurrent with Beckham’s goal scoring average on the road, especially after the All Star Break!” , in which case I would need a straight jacket if I actually cared!

Leave it to our friend from Down Under to put it right. As soon as the ball goes high over the goal, he’d say:

“STREWTH, that was BLOODY AWFUL! I know a blind, three-legged dingo with RABIES that woulda done better with THAT one, mate!!!!”

Ah, YES! THAT’S what I wanted to say!

But I digress.

Having properly defined football, I must now describe the other elements required to complete my little routine.

I would rarely do it when alone; it was usually performed when I was hanging out with friends and we were bored out of our skins. Perhaps it was in the schoolyard, during the last ten minutes of recess when we were just loafing around killing time.

My colleagues would be instantly transported to the last ten seconds of either The World Cup Final or The FA Cup Final, whichever was more recent. The score at this late stage of the game HAS to be 2-2, and this can be easily explained.

Being The Greatest Footballer In The World, I had already scored two goals earlier in the game. I then tragically twisted my ankle and to the fans’ consternation had to be taken off for treatment. While I was gone, naturally, the opponents came back into it with two goals of their own. This set the stage for me to heroically limp back onto the field in the dying moments to play through the pain, complete my “hat-trick”, and steal the glory.

So now I have my sport, and my setting. What’s next? Ah yes, a ball!!! Not advisable to use an actual sphere, however. I always got much better control with a crushed empty can of Coke thrown on the ground. Perhaps being a bit high on the cola drink therein is what persuaded me to do this in the first place.

The goalposts can be any two nearby objects that provide an appropriate gap. Even one of your onlooking friends can be one if you know they’re not going to move at the wrong moment.

How about a commentator thrown in for good measure? Doesn’t matter where he’s from. “And he dribbles the ball left, then right, beats three defenders, shoots, HE SCORES!!!!! IT’S THERE!!!! PAGANO HAS DONE IT!!!! OH MY WORD!!!!” I think the American equivalent is something like “HOLY COW!!! THE (INSERT LOCAL TEAM HERE) WIN THE PENNANT!!”

One important thing to note, though - you MUST do the commentator voice yourself. If you let your friends do it, there’s no way you’re going to score. You’re bound to be slide tackled at the last minute or trip over a daisy or something if you leave it up to them.

The last element is that noise you do as a boy when you somehow manage to simulate a hundred thousand screaming voices with one whispering voice: “AAAAAAAHHHH”. As you emit the sound to represent your adoring fans, an elaborate celebration dance is no harm for a finishing touch.

And so, as my schoolmates looked on with varying degrees of boredom, I would manoeuvre a tin can with my foot while I screamed out loud until I would kick it through a gap between a schoolbag and a trashcan and run off emitting a long drawn out whisper as I pulled my sweater up over my head and rejoiced because, for that moment at least, I truly was The Greatest Footballer In The World.

All in all it was a perfect way for a bored preteen boy to pointlessly waste time.

These days I just write for my blog.

Next week - My First World Cup, Argentina '78


Alan said...

Actually you forgot one important element. The final words of the commentary have to be "...and the crowd go wild!!!!"

And incidentally, wouldn't the correct term for American Football be "rugby in a suit of armour"?

sex scenes at starbucks said...

I'll forward this to Chello.