Monday, July 18, 2011

2011 FIFA Women's Soccer Media Analysis & Reporting Deficiencies

The quality of the reporting and analysis of the Women's World Cup, I found (I did not watch or read that much about it) to be astonishingly simple-minded.

The commentators I encountered, all ignored crucial points such as: how many paces of the feet and yards separated the initial contact with the ball from the shot point?; what was the angle of the dribble-movement relative to the angle of the pass that first gave the goal-scorer possession of the ball? when shot on the first touch, what was the angle of the shot relative to the angle of the incoming pass?; when shot off a dribble, what was the angle of the shot relative to the dribble direction?; what was the distance between shot-point and goal-line?.

Americans habitually ignore such key points, and simply assume, that soccer excellence is a matter of being gifted with some kind of talent or spirit.

I am experiencing limits on my time and energy, a lack of video equipment, and a lack of staff--hence my ability to report on the US Japan Women's World Cup Final is limited; yet I can still improve on the professional reporting and analysis produced by the well-funded well-equipped companies:

Note: 12:00 means straight in front, the direction my body is pointed at; 3:00 means directly to my right (90 degree angle to right); 6:00 means directly behind; 9:00 means directly to my left (90 degree angle to left); and then there are points between.

48' US near-miss
As the US player Alex Morgan ran at the ball crossed in to her from her right, she was about 4 yards in front of the Japan left goal-post, with the ball coming in to her from about 1:30 O'Clock; she attempted to one-touch the ankle-high ball off a low bounce into the goal @ 9:00 O'Clock with the inside of her left-foot, and hit the goal post. Ball-incoming to ball-outgoing angle was approx 135 degrees.

69' US Goal
After the US player Alex Morgan ran behind the (originally bouncing) but now rolling long pass the defender had sent straight up to her, she was about 16 yards in front of the Japan goal; she placed her body between the defender and the ball, and shot the rolling ball with the inside of her left foot, at a 45 degree angle to the right into the left side of the Japan goal.

81' Japan Goal
Japan player Miyama, used her right thigh to intercept US defender clearance ball before it bounced, which was coming in to her from 9:30 O'Clock; Miyama was 8 yds in front of middle of US goal; on the first touch she deflected the ball forwards with her right thigh, took a step with her left foot, and a step with her right foot, two steps as the ball bounced, and kicked the ball at about a 75 degree angle to her left with her left foot, across the goal line 5 yards away from the point of the shot.

104' US Goal
Alex Morgan (US), dribbled to the right goal-line slash penalty-box-line corner intersection, and with her left foot, sent a 22 yard volley pass to Wambach (US) who was standing near the middle of the front goalie-box line. 6 yards from the middle of the Japan goal-line. Wambach, headed the ball (which never bounced) at a 90 degree angle to her right, across the goal-line; the point of shot to goal-line distance was approx 6 yds.

117' Japan Goal
Some say that the Sawa goal, which forced the US into overtime, was accomplished by way of Sawa kicking the ball into the goal with her heel ("an amazing flying heel shot"). Inspection of the videos shows that this was not actually the case. Sawa had her right leg stretched almost straight and her right foot thigh high when she contacted the ball she was jogging at; Sawa deflected the ball (which never bounced) to her right at a 120 degree angle, with her right foot, not her right heel. One can see from the follow-through that the ball was not heeled into the goal. The ball richoted hard--a 120 degree deflection allows the ball to retain plenty of velocity. The ball crossed the left side of the goal-line 12 yards from where Sawa contacted the ball. The US player who touched the ball after Sawa did not effect the outcome-- the shot would have been a goal anyway, with the ball passing the goal point at a point near where it did after the deflection, even if there had been no deflection.

Note that in the five examples of above, the ball's direction after it departed the shooter's body, relative to the ball's direction before it was shot away, was (135 + 45 + 75 + 90 + 120) /5 = 93 degrees.


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Monday, July 04, 2011

Huge Church Building Contains a Peace that Transcends all Human Misfortunes -- a Dream

Early in the morning of July 3 2011, I sent an email to Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart; the email was cc'd to some important people who will play an important role in the Boston 4th of July 2011 celebrations. Then in the afternoon I took a nap. While I was napping, the radio in the radio-alarm-clock started playing. It was tuned to 96.9 FM in the Boston area (accidentally, I find it difficult to choose what station it is on); some kind of talk show was on, the reception was staticky. The volume was loud enough to be heard, but not loud enough to wake me up. I suspect that the noise of the radio had some impact on the dream I had, which ended at 3:19 PM on July 3rd.

In the dream:

I was walking down a road outside of Allahabad, India. Sasanka was walking with me. He was wearing the Indian loose white pajamas type clothing. We got to what seemed to be some kind of guest house and rested.

Looking outside the window, I could see what looked like boulders about 50 to 100 feet high, that had an approximately rectangular but jagged shape, sticking out of the flat plains off in the distance. I could also see, what looked like a gigantic church building that in terms of architectural style, combined Gothic and Byzantine characteristics; somehow I could tell that the dome roof of the building was approx at least a half a mile wide in diameter. Best I can recall, the huge dome of the building was a light green color.

The huge building which looked like a Gothic/Byzantine Church, was shaped like a cylinder topped by a dome. The cylinder shaped walls were made out of some dark, almost black colored stone. The cylinder shaped walls had tall, high narrow rectangular shaped structures sticking out ot the wall; these rectangular shaped structures ended at the top in a shape like a narrow pointed arch; it was these things sticking out of the wall that gave the building an architecturally gothic look.

The top of the awesome, enormous church-like building was shaped like a dome, like one half of a sphere or ball. at the base of the dome, where the dome met the wall, there were what looked like dark gigantic precious stones; I was not sure if these stone like things were shaded windows.

The fantastic building was far off in the distance but it seemed, somehow I could tell, that the diameter of the dome at the top was at least half a mile.

Whenever I gazed at this huge building, I felt in myself the presence of a peace of mind that transcended all human misfortune. It was a peace of mind that would be accessible, no matter what misfortune afflicted me or the world. Hence repeatedly my gaze was drawn to the huge building and my mind repeatedly became absorbed in the special peace of mind that came to me when I looked at it. As I stared at the building, sometimes its walls would change in color from dark, almost black, to a light-brown sand color.

After a while I realized that this huge building, was an architectural representation in stone of my face and my head. The presence of a human face was not obvious, there were no mouth or ears drawn into the walls, but I could somehow tell what the building represented and resembled nevertheless. It represented what my face and head look like in the most recent photo of myself that I placed in the January 13, 2011 entry of my sports log. I could see the same curvature of my face and head seen in the January 13 photo, in the dome like roof of the awesome building. I could see that the huge precious stones that may have been windows, represented my eyes. But I felt no pride, or arrogance, or conceit.

When I was not absorbed in looking at the gigantic magnificent Byzantine-Gothic looking Church, I was interacting with and observing the people around me. I was in an Indian public housing building, that was subsidized by the Indian government. It was not dirty or poor looking; but the rooms were somewhat small. There were colorful carpets on the floor, colorful curtains, colorful wall-hangings. There were many rooms shared in common by the occupants of the building, who were mostly Asian-Indian. Seemed about 25-75 people lived in the building. They were non-violent and law-abiding, but they were always in a bad mood, squabbling with each other; seemed alot of them were from Southern India; I was thinking, that the people in North India are nicer; in the dream it seemed as if Allahabad was a south Indian city.

Attempting to reduce the level of squabbling, I told one of them, that the Muslims, Jews, and Christians are all 'people of the book'.

At one point I encountered a woman who looked somewhat like Vandita, but taller, in a hall. I told her that I was in soccer becoming like a Pele; she scoffed at me.

There were some details in the dream that I don't remember. I woke up and could hear the radio playing and felt as if it had influenced the content of the dream. The people talking in the radio show seemed ill-tempered and quarrelsome like the Indians in the public housing.

@2011 David Virgil Hobbs

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