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...a sweatshop of moxie

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Anatomy of A Goal Call

Every once in a while, you see a perfect goal.

This perfect goal must be flawlessly executed, have a hint of flair, a dash of magic, and has to encapsulate the meaning of the match in a split second's worth of eye movement.

It's easiest when you see a goal, as most of you already have done: Kaká's second goal, versus hapless Fenerbahçe yesterday.

Sometimes, though, listening to a goal described as it happens can leave you breathless with the tension of the moment.

It's that feeling we GolTV viewers got yesterday, as we heard the Argentinian presenter describe this young football god's goal in real-time.

First, I want you to do me a favour.

If you already have seen this goal, try to blank out the images you saw yesterday. For this to work, your mind must be a tabula rasa.


Just imagine you're in the San Siro, although the weather is warm, you have on a club scarf around you.

You're surrounded by a bunch of aficionados to the left and right of you, in that press of humanity which makes sensations shared all that much the more memorable.

Imagine that you have an antique transistor radio in your hand, and its old-fashioned, crackling mono-audio sound compliments the match you see below you.

Heads stare straight ahead, then suddenly, everyone rises up, excited as all know something big is about to happen.

The goal took exactly 6 seconds from the moment Kaká received the ball from Ambrosini, to the moment he shot the ball, in the most telegraphed goal I've ever seen.

It's like watching a movie: you know what is going to happen, because that's what happens in pictures, and rarely happens in real-life.


It's MINUTE 85:34.

Alex, whose own performance in this match has been equally as up-and-down (more down than up, in fact, although he's as ever: "Fominha"/Little Hunger out there, an imperfect compliment today to the talents of Tuncay), just lost a ball trying to attack by the mid-right over Ambrosini.

Ambrosini just looks at him, barely chasing him as Alex rounds around him, waiting, pausing, observing the play as it develops.

Alex has the ball wrested from him by a clean tackle (Kaladze, I think). He lies on the pitch, vanquished.

The ball comes to Marco Aurelio, who tries to start up the play again, trying to get by the 5 man-triangulation that are Milan whenever Fener try to get something cooking in their area. Marco Aurelio loses the ball.

To Shevchenko...

...who has tracked alllllll they way back as he notices the disjointed way Fenerbahçe are playing, even more irritating because of lost balls and lack of rhythm, than their previous touch-touch-touch-back-touch football in this match, reminiscent of the Colombia of Dr. Maturano.

He passes it sweetly to Ambrosini, who is 20 yards away from midfield. Ambrosini attacks now, running, running, quickly, 5 yards past it, he slots a pass to Kaká. Bingo!


It's MINUTE 85:51 exactly.

The signature Kaká goal, which will be played 60 years from now, when GLOBO announces his death, is about to happen.

Kaká, when not tackled in full-stride near the area, is gone for goal. To create one, to make one -- it's just that simple.

He wasn't tackled.

He rammed over poor Onder, giving his body the lightest of pushes as Onder had already committed to the tackle, and was falling down.

It's Fabio's turn.

It's MINUTE 85:53.

Kaká starts wide left when he got the ball. Over Onder, he moves to square his body to Fabio, cradling the ball with his right foot.

He pushes it slightly to his right, at FULL gallop. He beats Fabio.


Look at Kaká on the field. It's at this moment he decides to make this play happen by himself.

He has 15 yards worth of green grass between him and the box. There's NOT ONE FENERBAHÇE player to stop his full-stride momentum.

Unless you count Number 5, Ümit.

Ay, Ümit.

You're lucky. When you die, they will not show that missed tackle, as Kaká beat you cold by the tiniest of moves to his right, just a little feint really, as you watched him fly past you, barely sticking a little leg out to prevent a certain goal.

History may be kind, but we´re not.

And Volkan? What of Volkan? Chosen over Rü$tü, who has met these Milan Brasileiros before -- and lost. Twice.

Poor Volkan, not the most talented of 'keepers.

It's MINUTE 85:56.

Kaká is facing Volkan, who is in his exact centre of goal. Volkan staggers, almost punch drunk, to face his attacker -- he moves gingerly forward, squaring himself to Kaká.

He's marooned on a desert island of his teammates' making. He's the last man. Crouch down Volkan! Go down faster!

Too late.

It's MINUTE 85:57.



Everyone around you is going crazy. Your transistor radio has made the play come alive.

And this is what you and everyone heard the presenter rasp out:

"Y ahora la contra será para el Milan. Y se viene a toda velocidad, Ambrosini. AM-brosini para Kaká. Kaká que insiste, Kaká que va, sigue Kaká-ká-ká-KÁ! Aí está KA-KÁ-KÁ-KÁ! Golazo Kaká! GOOOOooOOOOOooL! GoooOOOOOOOOOOLAZOOO del Milan!!"

(Now here comes the counter for Milan. Ambrosini comes at full speed. AM-brosini to Kaka. Kaka doesn't let up. Kaka doesn't stop, Kaka keeps going! There's Kaka! Golazo Kaka!!! GOOOOOOOooooooLLLLLLLLL!! GooooooOOOOOOLAAAAAAAAAAAZO of Milan!!)

Listen to it.

Listen to the luscious ripples of emotion, especially the unmistakable, timeless ARGENTINIANESS of that GOL sound.

Listen to how it starts, undulates, freezes at the top, and goes down. It's not a goal call.

It's a prayer.

A prayer of thanks, with a touch of sarcasm, almost as if the person isn't fooled by all the smoke and mirrors, but goes along with it nonetheless.

"Oh what the hell -- surrender yourself!"

You know, soccer...football...futebol...calcio...is a religion.

Its adherents are fanatics.

They congregate at least once a week to share their devotions.

They witness manifest triumph based on their beliefs. But sometimes heartache.

Why God why? they cry. But still they go to Church.

Ahh, but when things go right, they chant, they cry, they sing hosannas on high! From full-throated voices, come sounds of ecstasy, of expectation.

And like all good religions, soccer has to deliver a miracle every once in a while, to keep the faith going.

And yesterday, it just did.

UPDATE: Watch it too. Thanks Il Genio!


  • Faaannntasticoooooo!!!!

    By Blogger Jose Aguirre, at Wed Sep 14, 06:01:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Cubanito, Cubanito, que haces gustando del fútbol, eh?!?

    Pues que chevere. Pareces el Cubano-Americano perfecto. :)


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Sep 14, 06:13:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Fijate que casi perfecto, ya que nadie es perfecto! :)

    Mi hija menor juega futbol y asi es que yo me he convertido en fanatico de
    futbol despues de viejo!

    Y tu, una mujer que le gustan los deportes, eres casi perfecta tambien! :)

    By Blogger Jose Aguirre, at Wed Sep 14, 10:20:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Mi hija menor juega futbol y asi es que yo me he convertido en fanatico de futbol

    That's wonderful, Jose. I wonder how many previously non-soccer CA dads have been, due to their children getting on the soccer bandwagon.

    despues de viejo!

    Que dices! ;)

    Y tu, una mujer que le gustan los deportes, eres casi perfecta tambien! :)

    I was very athletic when younger, then I broke my leg, and I've been largely sedentary for 4 years!

    Such is life, right?


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Sep 15, 12:37:00 am GMT-4  

  • Somehow I don't picture you sedentary!!!!

    Estoy medio borracho after "boys night out"; hope que no hay muchos typos!!!

    Besos, Jose

    By Blogger Jose Aguirre, at Thu Sep 15, 01:25:00 am GMT-4  

  • Somehow I don't picture you sedentary!!!!

    Well, it's been 6 months since I went blading in Lincoln Road. Que pena.

    Estoy medio borracho after "boys night out"; hope que no hay muchos typos!!!

    Shaken, but not stirred, Jose.

    Y cuidado con no parkear en la loma del vecino!


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Sep 15, 02:15:00 am GMT-4  

  • Pffft.
    I've scored better at 5-a-side ;-)

    By Blogger Kullrad, at Thu Sep 15, 06:52:00 am GMT-4  

  • Parkear under the influence? I think I need to be careful and not BUI (Blog Under Influence) in the future!!!

    The toughest part last night was interpreting those letters I had to copy in order to post!

    By Blogger Jose Aguirre, at Thu Sep 15, 08:58:00 am GMT-4  

  • Great goal, but I have to admit the best (and funniest) part was listening to the Argentinian call. If the goal scorer's name was, say, Garcia instead of Kaka, the goal call wouldn't have been anything special.

    Just let your imagination run a little to see what I mean (it helps to know that "Kaka", pronounced with the accent on the first 'a', is Spanish for bowel movement). ;)

    Cheers from another Cuban-American soccer (futbol) fan.

    By Blogger Robert, at Wed Sep 21, 09:59:00 pm GMT-4  

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