July 31, 2010 by FilterKaapi
‘Say, isn’t that the world cup going on? Those guys look cute in their red shirts!’, she exclaimed. Naturally, I was enthralled that she started off a conversation (The smoothness worked. Ha! I told you so!) but the footballing expert in me was enraged. The guys were not ‘cute’! They were warriors battling for glory on the grassy battlefield!
I looked at her and asked, ‘you don’t know much about football?’ ‘Not really’, she said. Ha! I had her right where I wanted; I would now use all my expertise and explain to her the nuances of the beautiful game. She’d be floored of course and from there to her becoming my girl was but a small step. Ha! Time for the expert. ‘I could give you a few pointers’, I said nonchalantly. Her eyes lit up. ‘Could you really?’ Cute. ‘Of course!’ I said. The trap was laid. Genius.
‘So? Football eh? Well, it’s a simple game really.’
‘Yeah? Good, then it won’t take much time.’
Note to self: Wrong move. The idea to keep her engaged longer and hence do the flooring. Careful.
‘Ah well. It’s a bit more complex actually.’
‘Oh! But you said it was simple!’
‘Well, yes is it simple but in a complex way. I mean, it’s complex yet simple. It’s … Simplex.’
‘Simplex? Isn’t that the method in Operations Research?’
‘Er, well, yeah. It is. In fact, they derived that from football.’
Note to self: Whew! Close one da! Focus! Focus!
‘Yeah. So as I was saying. It’s simple really, er, complex, er, simplex. Yeah, well, so back to it then. There are these 11 chaps who play against 11 others. They basically fight to put one football into the net. Elementary, really.’
‘But if there are so many of them, why use only one ball?’
Naturally, I was taken aback. Such an elegant yet simple solution to such a complex problem.
Note to self: Check with FIFA on whether they plan to introduce more balls in the future. If not, suggest it and become football legend. Good plan. Stored in mind.
‘Well, ahem! My dear girl, <see how I nonchalantly slipped in ‘dear’? Smooth.> That’s simple. It’s called ‘football’ for a reason. So naturally, there can’t be more than one ball. They’d have to rename it ‘footballs’ wouldn’t they?’
Nice explanation da. Good thinking-on-feet ability. Well done!
‘Oh! Yeah! Guess that makes sense!’
‘Yeah, so anyway, there are these 2 teams with 11 each. One from each team is the goalkeeper. Only he can touch the ball with his hands. The others can use just about any part of their body except hands.’
‘Oh! So the goalkeeper can touch it only with his hands but the others can touch the ball with any other part. Got it!’
‘No! I’m not saying that the goalkeeper can touch the ball only with his hands. He can touch it with his hands as well. So he’s an all-body player but the others are all-body-minus-hands players. See, it’s like this really; in a Venn diagram, the goalkeeper will be part of the universal set of all body parts whereas the other outfield players will be a subset of the universal set minus the set having hands.’
Mathematical reference. Awesome machan!
‘Oh! That way. I get it now. But what are these outfield players then? They play outside, I gather. Then who are the infielders?’
Note to self: This might take a while. Patience. Patience.
‘Ha ha; yeah you could say that but, no. Outfielders are every one of the other 11 players who is not the goalkeeper.’
‘But I thought there were only 11 in all. You just said 11 other players.’
Damn you English! Bloody language!
‘Ahem, well, I meant one of the 11 in all but the other 10 of course. Football lingo. You’ll get it.’
Whew. Saved by quick thinking again. Not bad da, not bad!
‘So anyway, that is basically the composition of a team. One goalkeeper with 10 outfielders. Only the goalkeeper can touch the ball of course.’
Just then, the ball went out of play in the real match between, er, team A and team B and a player from team A went to take the throw in. Oh oh! Trouble!
‘Why is that other player taking a throw? Is he the goalkeeper?’
Damn it! Should’ve seen this coming. Focus man. Focus.
‘Well, that’s called the throw in which anyone can take. Even the outfielders.’
‘Oh! But you said …’
‘Yeah I know about only the goalie being the universal set but that is within the field of play. See those white lines? Those mark the boundaries of the pitch. If the ball crosses that line, it’s a throw-in. That throw in, anyone can take.’
‘Oh! Got it! Awesome. One doubt though. What is a goalie?’
Note to self: You moron! How can you possibly expect a novice to know football terms like goalie!
‘My bad. Goalie is footie lingo for goalkeeper.’
‘and what is …’
‘Again, my bad. Footie is football.’
Note to self: Idiot! See previous note to self.
‘So anyway, it’s as simple as that really; two teams with 11 each play. The main objective is to put the ball into the back of the other team’s net. This is a goal. The team with more goals in the end wins. To paraphrase, the goal of each team is to score more goals than the other team scores.’
‘Oh! And the goal can be scored by any player?’
‘Of course! Any player can score, though it’s usually the outfielders who do score. The goalkeepers generally stop them from scoring. But then if they stopped everyone from scoring, there would be no goals and hence no one would score, would they? Ha ha!’
Note to self: Fool!
‘Sorry. Footie joke. So anyway, that, in a nutshell, is football. A game where people score goals and other people try to stop them from while at the same time trying to score themselves with the first group trying to let them not to. Simple really.’
Damn. I’ve just complicated things again. Worsst fellow!
‘It’ll probably be a bit difficult to understand but you’ll pick it up as we go along…’