Billions Agree: Football is the Quintessential Beautiful Game

Football is by far the most popular game in the world.  It succeeds first of all because all you need to play is an open field and a round object.  You don’t even need a proper football if you can’t afford one although that certainly helps.  You don’t need special shoes, protective gear, or any other equipment.

Basketball needs a net.  Hockey requires ice, skates, a lot of protective equipment, and very cold weather.  Baseball needs a ball, a bat, and a much larger open field.  Online casino games require a computer, a server, a casino and money for your playing account.

American football is simply an abomination so we’ll talk no more of it.

In other words, football is a beautiful game because it is the most egalitarian game of all.  Inner city basketball players in the United States may be very poor but they have expensive shoes for the local basketball action.  Football can be played barefoot and has been played barefoot by millions of people all over the world.

Offside

The reason it is so hard to score a goal in football is that of the magnificent offside rule.  We realize that ice hockey has liberalized their offside rule and has sped up the game dramatically.  The offside rule in football means that even the fastest player on the pitch cannot simply outrun the opponents to score; he has to work harder and more creatively to get a slight opening through which he can kick the ball toward the goal.

The offside rule means that every meter of field is immensely valuable.  An offensive thrust will seek to gain small increments of space through careful and well-practised passing and dribbling.

Controlling the Ball

In basketball, the point guard brings the ball up the court.  He may need a bit of fancy dribbling to get to the three-point line from where he will start to run the offence for that possession.  It takes only a few seconds for the point guard to get down the court.  It is not rare but it is also not common for the point guard to lose control of the ball on his way to the offensive zone.

In football, it is exceedingly difficult to get the ball close enough to the goal to make a shot worthwhile.  It is very common for an offensive thrust to fail quickly as the opponents are also skilled at defence and have many tricks they can use to thwart a nascent offensive move.

No Substitution

There are a few substitutions allowed in football but it is nothing like the free for all that obtains in hockey or basketball.  Only in baseball is a player out of the game once he has been substituted for and baseball is the most difficult game to win, even more, difficult than football.

We might also call baseball the beautiful game but it is popular in only a small number of countries in the world.  While billions play and watch football, only a few million play and watch baseball.

The Pitch

Combining the fact that most players know that they will play the full 90 minutes plus the size of the pitch means that football players must know how to use their energy store and also how to conserve it.

Football players have to be the best-conditioned athletes.  Because the necessary skills are different, baseball players can be fat and slow.  There are no fat and slow players in competitive football.

Training

Strength is not enough.  Speed is not enough.  Endurance is also not enough.  To excel at football you need all three.  You need to be able to run at top speed, stop, recover quickly, and do it again.  The best training combines all three elements in a training regimen that players must follow throughout their careers.

This is all in addition to practising ball control and set play combinations.

Too much muscle will slow the player down.  Not enough muscle will make him weak toward the end of a match.

Training also involves proper diet and nutrition.  If you have done any online research in the fields of diet and nutrition, you’ve found that there are opposite programs for healthy eating in every aspect of nutrition.  The only way to know what the best program for every athlete is to experiment.

Transition

One of the major aspects that make football so beautiful is the skill players have in transitioning from offence to defence and vice versa.  This skill is present in hockey and basketball as well and is a big part of the appeal of those sports.

In football, a team goes from trying to stop an offensive thrust to instantly going on offence itself.  The long, mad dash down the side of the pitch after taking the ball away from an opponent is one of the most beautiful sights in football.  The playing areas in basketball and hockey are too short for spectators to enjoy the full emotional side of watching the long dash.  No one knows how it will end but the anticipation grows with each step.

The Best Players

In football, the best players are the opposite of the brutes that permeate other sports.  Messi is short.  Pele was short.  Maradona was short.  The beauty they brought to the pitch had nothing to do with brute strength or size.  It had to do with their ability to control the ball fractionally better than other players.

In the end, what makes football the beautiful game it is, is that in every moment of the match the players are striving mightily to be fractionally better than their opponents.  The best teams are not overwhelmingly better than their opponents; they are the most proficient at being fractionally better than their opponents.

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