Thursday, June 26, 2008

Soccer or football?

Soccer is like Macedonia. Americans call it soccer (and not football like the rest of us) because what they call football is what we call American football. The Greeks call Macedonia the FYROM (Former Yugoslavian Republic Of Macedonia) where the rest of the world calls it what its citizens decided to call it when they founded it after the split of Yugoslavia in its parts, in the 90ies: Macedonia! Ok, enough with these stupid analogies... only did them to set the stage for my 'well thought' analysis (LMAO).

What do I know about football? Not much, I guess. Mostly I watch the games during the Euro Cups (like in the last few days) and during World Cups. This is going on since the 60ies. I first watched international football on a monochrome TV during the 1970 World Cup in Mexico (I was 17 then); wasn't too much fun since there were no more than 4-5 TV sets in our little hometown and one of them belonged to my neighbor... soon the whole neighborhood and folks from other places assembled around his house to watch the game. The day before the final Brazil to Italy (4-1) we fixed a brand new antenna mast of about 20 m (60 feet) on the flat roof of our house risking our lives as that darn thing almost touched the high voltage cables of the electricity company hanging along the street. That stupid we were! Anyways, we managed to get some picture and sound from time to time whereas mostly it was snow all over the place (later I learned that the snow was indeed more interesting as it was a witness of background radiation dating from the Bing-Bang 15 billion years ago...)

My other football experiences dated from even earlier though, when I accompanied my dad to watch our local team, Εθνικός (The National) play against teams from other towns in the amateur league, and consistently lose the game. It wasn't that experience that would teach me any special intricacies of the game though, other than beating the referee at the end and chase him all over town because he 'sold' us and helped the opponents win the game...

Anyways, years passed by and as I occasionally watched football during the high profiled competitions and on much better TV signals, ending to this year's HDTV broadcasting with Dolby sound and all, I always wondered what it was that made a team win a game. Was it the coach? Was it the top class players (a.k.a. Prima-Donnas)? Was it the money earned? The new player contracts following successful performances? Was it Nationalistic pride? Was it the broads players would end-up shagging after successful plays? Was is technology? Was it plain and simple luck?

I often concluded it were all of the above. But then again, I didn't know which was the most important... I am really not sure any more. In football it's no good to be technically superior to your opponent and dominate the game for most of the time if your opponent keeps scoring the goals in some scarce moments of excellence. Motivation to win helps a lot, fine! Technique and knowledge of your opponent does too (Sun Tzu - Art of War; Guus Hiddink proved the latter in the game Russia to Holland). But above all, I believe, it's efficiency. The Mannshaft proved it again yesterday; the Turks were by far superior most of the time, and lucky, and mega-motivated, and all you want, mostly driven by shitloads of nationalistic pride (also, maybe some money and shagging... they learned this from the neighboring Greek squad four years ago). But, at the end, it was the German efficiency and talent to score 3 goals and win. And Angela M. cheered three glorious times, just like one of the guys!

It's like in business: Efficiency, efficiency, efficiency! Doing the things right...


PS. Effectiveness, they say, is about doing the right things... Thus, football is not about effectiveness because this is too trivial in this game... everybody knows the right things in football, even apes. It's about scoring goals. But doing that efficiently and winning the game is another question... so far for my free management course.

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