If football was an art, what would it be?
This question came up elsewhere this week (http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/sport/2007/03/01/whatever_happened_to_ricky_vil.html) – so here are my thoughts.
Firstly, What is it most frequently compared with currently?
Ronaldihno's samba hips are frequently referred to - so dance?
But dance might be a feast for the eyes, a festival of movement, colour, power and grace.
But there is no true drama in dance. No tension. No surprise ending.
And plot is key to football. We know the back-stories, the history of the characters and teams, stories of redemption and talent squandered, feuds and friendships ambitions and fears.
So novels, then - they have all this. But no visual feast, no sound.
A play then - it has its characters and visual display, and rhythms and passion. Stars and supporting cast. The theatre of dreams anyone?
But physical prowess plays no part. I am not in awe of actors.
Ballet has elements of both dance, movement, music, grace, power, but also the drama and plot.
But the ending is already written, the audience watch - they are not involved in the outcome, only appreciate the performance.
Fundamentally - football (or sport more generally) is not like any other art form.
It IS an art form.
Unscripted drama. Grace and brutishness. Briliance and bastards. Tactics and scheming, plotting by managers - but inspirational moments of breathtaking imagination and improvisation.
Art IS life - life as viewed by someone else. If the vision and skill of the artist is good enough then we too get to see the world as they do.
I look at Monet or a Turner and - for a while - I can see the world as he did. And the genius can not only show his world, but teach you something new about it, something you had never see.
The truly great can also make you feel as they do, their fears, joys, loves and passions.
Football can do this as well as many other forms of art. Not just the individuals - the whole thing. It makes you feel, see things you didn't see before in ways you didn't think possible.
Greece break hearts, and write legend winning Euro 2004, then don’t make it to the 2006 world cup.
A Bergkamp touch or pass will show you space in a way only he can, something you – or the defenders – would never have seen (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CisFA_gG1mw).
Henry's power and grace (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M340nIeI0Rs), footballers are only part of the script, but an unwritten script that is truly worthy of any other.
As Homer almost put it:Sing, muse of the anger of Zidane, son of Marsaille, the accursed fury that brought uncounted anguish on the Brazilians, and hurled down to hades many great sides, making their managers prey to the fans and the media's feasting: and this was the working of football's will. Sing from the time of the first quarrel which divided Materazzi, lord of Inter, from godlike Zidane.