Monday, 10 March 2014

Soccer Team Science

Soccer Team Science
10 March 2014

I’m not the greatest person when it comes to sport.  Probably cause I’m not even vaguely sporty myself.

Favourite sport is always whatever my kids are participating in.  And hence, we’ve matured from Play Ball, Karate and Ballet, to Dancing, Cricket and Hockey.  I absolutely LOVE supporting my kids next to the sports field.  Perhaps a part of it, is reliving my own youth.  Especially as I did not do the sporty thing at all at school.  I now seem to be enjoying it doubly.  Everything is new to me.  I never had the experience of swimming in a gala, and therefore watching Cole doing his gala’s was thrilling.  The same with Luke’s Karate gradings.  Amber’s dancing Eisteddfod’s.  Luke’s Cricket and Hockey matches.  Amber’s netball, dancing and hockey.  And Cole’s high jump, long distance running, tennis and rugby too.

I’m enthusiastic.  Cheer loudly.  Get heart palpitations with excitement, and just quite simply live myself right into each match. 

Which of course is all fair and well, until one by one, barring one (my beloved Cole), my kids have gotten to an age, where they have begged me to not get so excited.  To stop shrieking and shouting with excitement.  Basically to pipe down and stop embarrassing them.  First prize for them, is me not pitching and supporting at all.  Kids!  At least for now, Cole still leaves me be.  Lapping up all of my eager enthusiasm.

Apart from supporting my kids sporting adventures, I love watching cricket on the TV too.  But with certain conditions.  Only Protea matches, when South Africa is playing.  Only limited overs matches.  Or even T20’s.  Just don’t give me a five day test.  Ya-a-a-a-awn.  Too tedious for words.  I enjoy watching Formula One, when Grant shrieks and shouts.  The odd rugby match too.  Gymnastics, diving, skiing, field and track events, swimming, etc. usually associated with the Olympics or some or other big sporting event is also fun to watch.  Addictive in fact.

However if there is one sport, that leaves me rather cold, and always, has it’s soccer.  Yip, in my opinion, footie’s always been a bit of a fail.  All that aimless running around for seeming hours on end.  Often with no score at all.  Not even one measly goal.  In addition there’s the ludicrous theatrics too.  Now, normally, I’m actually all for the theatre and a spot of drama.  However, there’s a time and place.  Like at the theatre.  Just saying.

And therefore big, strapping, grown men, howling with pain, because someone touched their shin, leaving them writhing with pain, clutching their not-really-painful-at-all-shin, just irritates me.  Let’s see even one of those woosies survive labour?  Then we’ll show them pain.  My money’s on them not even outlasting three centimetres dilated.  Can you just imagine them at ten, if this is the response you get from a shin tap?  Puhleeeaaase!  Give me some strength!

And thus, can you imagine my surprise, when the one sport, that absolutely enthralled and captivated my eldest son, at the age of about eleven, was soccer.  I know.  It’s a cruel, cruel world.

Even worse, his addiction appeared to be catching.  Before long, even little Cole was hooked.  And not to be left out, my Amber soon joined the football world too.  Although her requirements from the game, were slightly different than the boys’.  She liked players for their long hair.  Their glamorous girlfriends and wives.  Just about everything, apart from their actual footballing skills.

Now, as a newbie, Luke was Manchester United mad.  Actually, to be truthful, he was mad about everything soccer.  It was as if he had rabies in fact.  It was all he spoke about.  All he dreamed about.  It completely consumed him.  Five years later, and I can report back that the infection is still rife.  With no sign of either the symptoms or the cause abating.

It’s the number one thing he Googles.  Daily.  The first channel he flips to on the TV.  The news he listens to and watches.  The bit he scans for in the papers.  The books he reads up about.  Factual books about soccer.  Biographies and the like.  And as such, his knowledge has grown.  Ironically, apart from messing about in the backyard, he’s never played proper soccer.  But here’s the thing – Luke has a Rain-Man like quality to retaining information.  It’s really pretty scary.  If something interests him, he can hyper focus, and take in all the information about that topic.  Even more scary – he retains it.  Forever.  Thus he can quote football scores from years ago, about matches he read up about.  He can tell you which player scored in which minute against which team, in which trophy at which stadium.  Yip, it’s scary.  We’ve resorted to calling him, “Wiki-Soccer” at home.  If only he had the same dedication to his Physical Science at school.

Anyway, Luke has favourite teams across all of the different leagues.  Across country borders.  Across many nationalities.  Quite naturally he has favourite players too.  Being able to quote verbatim, their whole career.  At what team each player got their first break, at what age, under which coach.  Who bought them next, for what transfer fee.  In what year.  Etc. etc. etc.  Yes, “Wiki-Soccer” indeed.  We’ve tried catching him out – with soccer books in our hand, challenging him.  But he’s always right.

Anyway, a few years ago, he switched loyalties to Liverpool.  He preferred the players.  Their ethics.  Their history.  Their everything. 

Now, ironically, Liverpool has always been Grant’s favourite team.  And when soccer fever first hit our home, it was also Amber’s first choice of a team.  Her favourite player, Fernando Torres (long blonde hair), played for them.  And she so does love to follow her Daddy.  And hence the bond they have of supporting the same team, is a strong one.  Despite the fact that Amber does not actually watch football matches.

Cole on the other hand, has always forged his own path.  This is a very strong character trait with him.  And will be defining throughout his life.  He’s not a follower.  He makes up his own mind.  And age four, he became obsessed with Petr Čech.  And hence, his team of Chelsea, became Cole’s favourite team.

So I ask you?  What was I supposed to do?  If you can’t beat them, join them.  It became obvious, even apparent, that I’d need my very own team to support too. 

And thus, I took the scientific approach to choosing a team.  Not based on skill.  Not based on ethnicity.  Not based on country.  Not based on location.

Based solely on the periwinkle blue colour of their shirts, I chose Manchester City.

Always had a fondness for periwinkle blue.

Still never watch a match.  Still don’t really get the point.  Still think lots of them are wailing woosies, with their fragile little shins.

Though to be fair, Fernando Torres and Cristiano Ronaldo, are rather easy on the eye…

Not that they play for Man City either.  Or maybe they do.

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Cristiano Ronaldo

Alas, I get distracted

Fernando Torres


Lovely blue, don't you think? Can't say I know who plays for them. Who their coach is. Or where their home ground is. Suppose somewhere in Manchester...

1 comment:

  1. You are funny Helene!! I love it.
    Your enthusiasm for your family and what they love, is really admirable!!
    Rob loves soccer too - but I just don't get it.