Saturday 19 March 2011
Monday 6 September 2010
I’m spared this ignominy, but not the constant reminders of my lowly stature once we kick off. An opponent nutmegs me derisively, a teammate shakes his head with a mixture of disbelief and pity after I mis-control a ball played to my feet, and refuses to pass to me for the rest of the game.
I have little inborn sporting ability - ball sense, hand-eye co-ordination, anticipation, athleticism. Having played a lot of it as a kid, I became a decent enough cricketer to open the batting in unorganised tennis-ball games (and the odd inter-department match in college). This may not sound like much, but had my batting technique remained at the level of my footballing technique, I’d have been one of the kids who batted in the tail and didn’t bowl at all.
With football, which I played little of growing up, it’s different. I often feel I don’t belong, even among portly, chain-smoking chaps a decade older than me.
A lot of bad footballers are in it for a laugh. Me? I care too much. I can’t even countenance the idea of playing in goal, where I won’t be expected to be any good anyway, and where I’d be looked at gratefully for relieving someone else of the need to perform this unwanted task. No, I want to be in the thick of the action. I want to exert my influence on the game. I cannot shut up.
I point at people, point at where I’d like them to be. I holler on about fanciful ideas like playing a high back-line or using the width of the pitch. I yell at teammates to track back, even when I know that I, possessing the turning radius of a beached whale and the first touch of a combine harvester, have no business telling them what to do.
I am ignored. And, I guess, endured. Laughed at when I’m not around, if people talk about me at all.
I can’t imagine what it’s like to be good at football. To make the ball bend to your will. To have gotten rid of the fear of having the ball at your feet. To be able to look up and look around the field with the ball at your feet, and make instinctive decisions about what to do with it, unmindful of all the players closing you down, narrowing your field of vision, getting in your face.
I haven’t achieved this state even in my dreams. The only football dreams I have had involve the game bypassing me entirely as I stand frozen in the middle of the pitch, feet flailing about helplessly, failing even once to connect with the ball. I make out indistinct, angry shouts, which I suppose issue from my teammates, and then nothing, as panic shuts down my hearing.
|That's how I feel with the ball at my feet (Soccer on motorbikes on the football pitch of Crystal Palace in London, England 1923. Photo: Nationaal Archief, Flickr)|
First goal? I am about 11 or 12; I’m playing with my classmates. The ball stops next to me, for some reason, and I have my back to the goal, which is about ten yards away. I turn around, and smack the ball blindly, as hard as I can, and it sort of sneaks between the unsuspecting keeper (who only had to stretch out his left arm a bit to palm it wide) and the near post.
I can explain to you, with aid of a badly drawn diagram, how I once made the most delicate chipped pass over the last defender (in a game of beach football with no goalkeeper) that a teammate ran on to and stroked home gleefully. It was so unexpected that no one believed I intended it. You only have my word - delivered in a whiny, earnestly schoolboyish tone - against the scornful rebuttals of those who witnessed it, if they remember at all.
Why would they? They probably don’t remember their own transcendental moments the way I do. I can remind T of that ludicrous lob he scored with on the school ground in seventh standard, or A of the through-ball he played to B a couple of years ago, with me looking on from outside, unable to play thanks to a twisted ankle. If I ever see him again - I’ve only met this friend of a friend twice, seven years ago - I’ll ask S to demonstrate the kicking technique he used when he smacked in one of those long-range goals that sends Andy Gray tumbling off his chair.
They’ll look at me pityingly and wonder what I’m going on about. For them, it’s a game they happen to be good at. Me? I care too much. I want to be player-manager and implement in our weekly kickabouts the 3-3-1-3 formation Louis van Gaal used at Ajax.
Flung into the public domain by Karthik Krishnaswamy at 18:24
Thursday 24 June 2010
Flung into the public domain by Karthik Krishnaswamy at 02:09
Tuesday 4 May 2010
"Another impulse discernible among the early submissions was domesticity. Rather than looking for broadly symbolic visual emblems, readers concentrated on showing their worlds (and maybe a few more cats, dogs, tulips and coffee cups than we hoped to see, if truth be told)."
Well, that's what happens when you ask people to shoot pictures on a Sunday.
I, however, was at work that evening, from about six to eleven thirty (yes, such is my life). At around 8.20, I walked out of office and onto Anna Salai, and ended up shooting this ice cream cart.
I eagerly await the moment when the picture mosaic goes up on the NYT website. They promise "an interactive display that will allow you to sort them geographically and thematically."
Should be awesome.
Flung into the public domain by Karthik Krishnaswamy at 16:24
Monday 5 April 2010
Oh, and do read this as well. It asks the question of what role music plays in our lives, and whether our priorities are all wrong, and is an utterly brilliant piece of journalism. Thanks to Sruthi for mailing me the link.
Flung into the public domain by Karthik Krishnaswamy at 14:53
Tuesday 2 February 2010
Flung into the public domain by Karthik Krishnaswamy at 18:23