March 4, 2008

Spanish League Jazz

Once again, time to revisit the beautiful game. Today, I want to show a clip of highlights from a recent match up between two top notch teams in the Spanish League.

Athletico Madrid 4-Barcelona 2 (01-03-08)

Two things about this clip moved me to write this post. The first thing that you're sure to notice is the music of St. Germain. I found the combination of football and jazz to be shockingly natural. I consider both endeavors to be forms of art with a great deal of room for freedom of expression. Football and jazz also share a tension between individual expression and group cohesion. It makes me wonder if the success of Brazilian jazz and Brazilian football are related?

The second reason for sharing this clip is Ronaldinho's goal at 1:33 (play starts at 1:21). I don't think that I can convey just how difficult it is to do what he does here to someone who's never tried it before. The timing required to make contact with a ball that's speeding along perpendicularly to the direction of a strike is impressive but then to connect with a bicycle kick while being manned and hit the low corner of the goal... Yowsa. He makes it look easy.

Actually, that first shot (at 0:22) by Zambrotta looks deceptively ordinary as well. The combination of power, angle and accuracy that he gets on that is far from ordinary or accidental. If you watch the slow motion replay, you can see exactly how straight and low to ground the ball flies with almost no spin. Like a knuckle ball in baseball, a ball moving without spin can shimmy in the air and is difficult to track.

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