The last couple of months one came across some excellent writing on football (or soccer as some people insist on calling it).
Yael Averbuch played in the women’s professional Soccer League in USA before it was suspended in 2012. So she transferred to the European Champions League playing for Rossiyanka based in the town of Krasnoameyrsk near Moscow. Yael’s blog on Goal in NYT is one of many football blogs I follow. Here’s a bit from her post describing her cultural shock.
When I Googled the name of the club, all I found were the pictures and stories of the team playing in bikinis. I think things have changed a bit though (I hope so, LOL). There are four Brazilians, a Swedish player and now three Americans on the team … all wearing our clothes!
And now a few games and practice sessions with the girls, she is now looking at become a more complete footballer:
I think that the countries that rise to the top of the women’s game in coming years will have to encompass all of these attributes at the world-class level. It will no longer be enough to display superior intensity, technical quality, tactical sophistication, or the will to win. In the U.S., we can add a bit of the sophistication and technique that sometimes is impossible to develop when you are always playing on your physical edge. And in Europe, things will inevitably click enough that players can add that physical dimension of “going all out” to a greater degree.
Incidentally, her first major game was Rossiyanka’s quarter final second leg versus Turbine Potsdam. Already down 0-2 in the first leg, the home team lost 0-3 (0-5 on aggregate).
Then there was Fabrice Muamba. Euan Ferguson puts the spotlight on the medical emergency team at White Hart Lane.
Muamba was given 15 defibrillation shocks in all: two on the pitch, one in the tunnel, 12 in the ambulance. CPR is fine, apparently, for manually persuading the body to pump oxygen around for a bit, but the heart needs to be jump-started with a 300-joule electric shock. In total, Muamba was to take 4,500 joules in those 78 minutes.
For the dose of the metaphysical and lyrical sports writing – you can check out the Brian Philips “Athletes fall down all the time … Every once in a while an athlete goes down and it’s … different” essay in Grantland or the Rohit Brijnath “But what unsettles us more is the athlete who dies abruptly on the field, absent of collision, not visited by evident violence, just keels over as footballer D. Venkatesh did in Bangalore” essay in LiveMint.