One ball and 22 players behind it. There’s this old Namboodiri joke.. When the Namboodiri saw a game of football he commented ‘why don’t you just give a ball to each player!’. Lame. I know. But that’s Namboodiri we’re talking about.Anyway, It’s the 19th FIFA World Cup, being held in South Africa and most of my friends are probably glued to their couches watching the first game, SA vs Mexico. Before you swear and tell me to go watch the game, which I tried to ( really!) I should tell you that my football IQ is extremely weak. I don’t know which player belongs to which country or which team-with-funny- names people call clubs ( like Barcelona and Madrid and stuff). So there. That’s me and football. 🙂 And that’s why I thought I’d blog a bit about my boot-game ignorance and about what football means, to me.
Personally I prefer cricket. It’s much more sophisticated and disciplined, according to me.It’s the Gentleman’s Game-there’s rarely any violence in the field unlike in football, where players trip down to kiss the ground, a lot! Funny game really, isn’t it? You forget everything in the process of taking the ball to the other court, meanwhile saving your own court like a fort. Soldiers in short trousers. Style icons, recognized and worshiped all over the world.And the referee shows coloured cards to the players to get them to sit out.It’s like literally yelling ‘GET OUT YOU CHEATER AND LET THE GOOD GUYS PLAY!’. There are weird shots like scissor cuts and rainbow shots and God knows what. Sorry if I got them wrong; my football jargon is equivalent to my skill in organic chemistry. 🙂 It’s a shame really, to not be a football fan being brought up in Malabar and being friends with a lot of football fans.But that’s how it is. Another thing I notice about football is HOW MUCH the coach is involved in the game. In cricket you rarely see the coach being in the picture, biting his nails or egging his players on.. But football is one of those games where coach has a prominent role.Actually this reminds me of Shah Rukh Khan, in Chakde saying , “khud naa badho.. ball ko aage badhao’ .That’s what’s exhilarating to see. The ball being kicked around or being glued to a player’s boot , hurled across from the corners or stopped by the goalkeeper, retrieved , kicked around again and finally being tossed for the ultimate ‘GOAAAL!!’. The shouts from the gallery, various fluttering flags and the Mexican waves. Moreover, like any other international sports event, the World Cup is a festival of different nationalities and cultures, united under a single rule-football.
Yes, it’s the most popular world sport.It’s fast, furious, exciting and beautiful.Even though India doesn’t have a team, Indians are among the most ardent supporters of this game. Rarely do we see SUCH widespread excitement for this game in a country like India which roots for cricket. Not that people don’t follow it, but it’s not a topic of daily discussion like cricket.But this is certainly one of those times, where football overrules cricket. As the crowd rumbles and as the half- a- kilo ball soars over the soccer field, many hearts around the world flutter too.. Popularity is certainly of essence 🙂