Der beste Artikel aller Zeiten zum Thema Kickern

Kubala

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..ist vor kurzem in The Athletic veröffentlicht worden. "Blood, sweat and speeding plastic: 48 hours at the foosball world cup". Einer ihrer Journalisten, Adam Hurrey, hat das englische Nationalteam nach Nantes begleitet und einen Artikel dazu veröffentlicht, der gedruckt ca 27 Seiten lang wäre. Das ganze ist eine liebevolle und eingehende Beschreibung der WM und des Kickerns vom Standpunkt eines Außenseiters, sehr englisch mit hintergründigem Witz und vor keinem Wortspiel zurückschreckend ("The Rues may win the battles but Team GB have the Warrs"), vielen Details und Infos und sehr unterhaltsam geschrieben. Absolut bester Sportjournalismus. Ein paar Zitate, mit der Erlaubnis des Autors:

Each player nominates their favoured table before competing and then plays “home” and “away” against each opponent. Even to a newcomer, the Bonzini immediately emerges as the clay-court outlier, its metallic figures rattling away like 22 tiny cake tins. Most amusingly, it seems like the Americans largely hate it — and it’s those varying levels of unfamiliarity and discomfort that give these World Championships their unique edge.

Full confirmation that this isn’t just a game for basement bars, garages and trendy media companies’ office spaces was sealed last August when the ITSF officially became a signatory of the WADA Anti-Doping Code. Their very stern-sounding, 69-page anti-doping rules document came into force this year. On the evidence of this week in Nantes, though, the foosball family only needs to worry when WADA adds Kronenbourg 1664 and inhumanly chewy baguettes to their list of banned substances.

So if it dresses like a sport, sounds like a sport and behaves likes a sport, there doesn’t seem to be much of a debate to be had. But one thing nags at my mind: how can they make foosball — a pursuit historically defined by its participants — a compelling spectator sport?

The bad news is that, in its most fundamental moments, foosball is impossible to watch — you often simply cannot see the ball going into the goal, let alone appreciate its subliminal trajectory. Fortunately, that theoretically critical disadvantage doesn’t seem to deter the fans. In the qualifying and elimination rounds, the crowds that gather around the tables range from the proverbial un homme et son chien to what can best be described as “in the background on Antiques Roadshow, when someone’s turned up with their nan’s collection of spoons that turns out to be worth £500,000″.

The darkest of all foosball arts, however, is “jarring” — a slightly vague concept, clouded by intent and interpretation, that seems to inspire the majority of appeals to the referees. Stood quietly in their black-and-white striped shirts, looming over one of the corners of the table, these officials — often current or former players — are passive but necessary. Plaintive looks from one side of the table are rare but tense, especially when it comes to an alleged jar, when the ball is knocked from its path by an opponent slamming the side of the table with their rod.

“Well, the question is: ‘what is a jar?’,” asks Hawkes. “In different countries, the interpretations vary. I feel sometimes, when I play in France, a butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazon and a Bonzini table moves in Micronesia, and when you jar, the other guy always looks like you shat in his coffee. It’s not like, ‘Oh, I think that was a jar — what do you think?. It’s like, ‘You are the dirtiest cheating bastard I’ve ever met in my life and I hate you.’ On the table, you’ve got some grade-A bastards, right? You’ve got some cheating bastards.”

Gloriously, not even foosball has escaped the technological clutches of VAR. The winning point in the women’s doubles final goes to the big screen after the USA query whether Romania’s star player Ecaterina Sarbulescu had been touching the handle for long enough before shooting (in contravention of the rather fussy-sounding “sudden play” rule).

The referee stands firm, the Americans fume, and the No 1-seeded Romanians have their gold medal. Later, as the USA men’s team open up an unassailable seven-point lead in their Nations event semi-final, Germany’s Thomas Haas has to be pulled away from the officials amid a dispute over how the ball was placed back on the table after a point. It’s been a long week.

The quest to find the best foosballers in the world takes some unexpectedly early twists. Haas, the 2017 men’s singles champion and current world No 1, crashes out in the last 64. So too does Twan Hermans, the surprise winner in Murcia in 2019, who has the reasonable excuse of having virtually disappeared off the circuit to complete his architecture thesis on the proposed restoration of a 2,000-year-old Roman bathhouse, for which he was nominated for the Euregional Prize for Architecture in 2021. At least, that’s the story he’ll be giving the WADA officials when they catch up with him.

The US names aside, I was prepared to arrive in Nantes to be confronted with hordes of clean-cut central Europeans — a convention of rod-twisting, recreation-centre Rangnicks. Richard Marsh, the British No 1, sympathises with this immediately when I call him for pre-tournament inside information.

Hier geht´s zum ganzen Artikel: Blood, sweat and speeding plastic . Das Probeabo dafür lohnt sich.
 
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Coccyx

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Liest sich auf jeden Fall sehr unterhaltsam, danke für den Link.

„…and when you jar, the other guy always looks like you shat in his coffee. It’s not like, ‘Oh, I think that was a jar — what do you think?. It’s like, ‘You are the dirtiest cheating bastard I’ve ever met in my life and I hate you.’ On the table, you’ve got some grade-A bastards, right? You’ve got some cheating bastards.”
 
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