Monday, May 27, 2019

Soccer visible to the eye

I don't mean for this to be damning with faint praise, but I guess it is a little bit. Nevertheless, I mean no harm.

I watch a lot of soccer, with most of those games featuring Messi, the almost miraculous player from Argentina. Often, sometimes with it going just right, and sometimes with it just barely going wrong, I watch and marvel. "What on Earth just happened!" I cry. Or "How did he do that?" They show it again and I still can't quite work it out. Then, if I'm lucky, they'll have a nice slow motion shot of it. He passes the ball from his left foot to his right foot back to his left foot. This happens all at once without ever touching anything but his feet. The defender's mind is spinning and Messi pops it with the outside of his boot through the guy's legs, between four other players, to anticipate the run of his teammate who, wide open, then kicks the ball clear into the stands. Ah well. It was still quite a thing.

In preparing a modestly elaborate betting pool at work for the Women's World Cup I have had some occasion already to watch some recent highlight videos from women's soccer. It has been a kind of delightful surprise. Sure, it is missing the magic, which is a little problematic, but on the plus side I can see everything as it happens in real time. It is as if the game, unusually, is played in slow motion from the start, in real time.

I know that doesn't sound great, but as a viewer it is a curious pleasure; finally, finally, I can see everything.

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