Sunday, February 06, 2011

The Evolution of Balls

A lot of people are complaining about the current World Cup Balls. No surprise, like everything balls are constantly evolving.

I was reminded of this on a trip to my uncle’s house this weekend. If you walk in my uncle’s house the first thing you'll notice is my uncle's old balls on display up-front.

He's proud of the old heavy-leather things. Although a little fuzzy and worn from years of being played with, they're actually quite interesting to look at.

Compared with my own, the first thing you'll notice is how unsymmetrical they are, the second is the stitching up the side tied together with laces. This stitching again highlights their eccentricity.
My uncle talks of the old glory days when someone might get the painful sting of laces in the mouth if the ball curved unexpectedly.

It's rare I've been given the opportunity to kick one of my uncle's balls. First thing I notice though is how heavy they are. You really need to kick them hard for them to move. Compared to my own more nimble balls, they really take a slogging - it gives you respect for the older generation- you couldn't be a pansy if you took to the field with balls like these.

My nephew has started playing football now. He doesn't have full-size balls yet, but he's learning how to play with them and control them. At first glance you'll notice they're more colourful than mine- but I think there is a lot more thought and cutting edge technology in his than mine will ever have- it's not just about how they look. My nephew’s balls have been through wind-tunnels and computer simulations to reach perfection.

So before anyone complains about their balls. Stop, they're constantly changing. Everyone is given the same opportunities, some are just better at controlling theirs than others.

I do recommend though, for you to respect your elders, if they even give you the opportunity to kick one of their balls, take it. It's a memory that will stay with you a long time- and give you a lot of respect for the heavy-unwieldy old things they had to lug around.

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