Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Blind Soccer

As soon as I start to feel wistful and wimpy and sorry for myself for not getting to play soccer, my sister sends me this link about blind soccer players. There’s a World Blind Football Championship played every few years (this year Brazil was the winner). It’s really inspiring to watch and makes me feel exceptionally guilty for complaining about my temporary injury.

If you’re like me, and wondering ‘how on earth would blind soccer work?', I’ll give you the short version. The players use a ball that has bearings in it so they can hear it coming. There’s no throw-ins, and they play on smaller fields. The goalies can see. (In the clip I watched, the goalies seem perhaps even more psycho angry when they got scored on than some of the FIFA World Cup goalies – I guess you feel like a pretty serious knob when you can see, and you’re using a smaller net than usual, and a blind player can still score on you. I even saw one goalie score an own goal. Hee hee.)

It’s all very carefully edited on youtube, of course, so we don’t see what must be part of it-- the moments when everyone is standing around and no one has the ball. (The sighted goalie has to stay in his goalie box, otherwise, I’d imagine he’d be tempted to run up and swipe it from people all the time.) I was at first a bit disappointed that I saw only individual scoring efforts—you know, someone dribbling up with the ball, and dekeing around the defenders by himself to score, rather than give and go passes—but then I had to remind myself dude, they’re blind. It’s easy to forget because they’re very good.

If I was in charge of blind soccer, there’s only a few things I would change. First of all, why must they wear those masks that look like they’ve been cut out of sanitary pads? I understand the idea of wearing a mask, naturally, because some blind people have slightly more sight than others and this could provide an obvious advantage, but can’t they make the masks cool and black, like something Batman might wear? It would be much sexier. Also, the trophy they win in the end – does it have to look like a clear glass vase someone picked up at the dollar store? I know they’re blind, but they just won the blind World Cup. Let’s give them an actual trophy. And lastly, let’s not spray them with champagne in the end, when they do win. The poor fellows just stand there kind of sadly, getting wet, because they can’t see enough to know how to escape the spray, and they’re not frolicking in the joy of it, they’re just putting up with it.

Otherwise, it’s all good. You should watch it.

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