Friday, April 25, 2003
What familiar piece of traditional British street apparel is this a picture of and what on earth has it got to do with Basra and our intrepid soldier gentleman, Staff Sergeant Steve Hanson? Click on the image to have all revealed.
johncoxon 6:18 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM UPDATE
The star of 'Bend it Like Beckham' isn't David Beckham but Parminder Nagra who plays a teenage Indian girl (living in West London) called Jess. She is trapped, as a woman, between the demands of traditional Asian(Punjabi)family values and her own conflicting modern values which include a desire to play football like her hero, David Beckham. Her parents want her to become a solicitor (lawyer) and are opposed to her ambitions. "Who'd want a girl who plays football all day but can't make chapattis?",her mother remarks during the film.
Like many Asian teenagers over here, faced with similar value conflicts, she learns to pay respectful lip-service to old values and tries her best to do her own thing. Inevitably,much of the film's humour, involves the delightful comedy of errors surrounding her attempts to conceal what she really is doing (i.e. playing for a local women's football team.) We find out, incidentally, that Jess can actually bend the ball like David.
johncoxon 6:06 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM
This film, mildly slated (literally ...in the Slate ) as "the latest culture-clash feminist Anglo-Indian crowd-pleaser", seems destined to break box-office records in the States. Its title is a reference to Manchester United's Number Seven striker and England football captain, David Beckham.
Beckham is probably the best known footballer in Britain. He is a very skilful player and in many ways a role model for football crazy youngsters (and also the young football loving heroine in the film) Even though David is very rich and famous, he is no Prima Dona, just a very gifted and hard working team player who inspires others.
The film title refers particularly to David's mastery of the free kick in football (soccer in the States) This is where, if an attacking player is fouled, his team is awarded a free kick directly at goal. The defending team is allowed to form a human wall in front of their own goal as long as those players are 10 yards ( 9 metres) from where the kick is to be taken. Normally the goalkeeper positions this defensive wall to protect his goal and then stands in the goalmouth where he predicts he can save the shot.
David has the ability to strike a 'dead' (stationary) ball and make it 'bend' in flight so the trajectory of the ball curves in either the lateral or vertical plane (or both) over or around the wall and into the corner of the net with the goalkeeper usually left standing dead on his feet, not even moving, and totally bemused. David wears special boots made by Addidas called Predators ( animal rights activists are up in arms because Addidas use kangaroo leather) The boots have special rubberised pads on the uppers that help put spin on the ball but it is this skill that David practices a great deal that enables him to work his magic.
David Beckham, who has a rather monotone voice, has been frequently parodied, unfairly, as a person of limited intelligence but in all interviews and chat shows I have seen him in, he comes across as an extremely modest and very likable personality who copes incredibly well with both his celebrity status and the high expectations placed on him by football fans.
CONFOUNDING THE SCIENTISTS
His incredible skill at bending a football has made him the focus of attention of some very eminent Physicists in Britain, Belgium and Japan , who have dubbed him variously as a genius, 'the Einstein of football physics' and 'cleverer than all those physics academics and their computers'. In science-speak what David does, in a split second before he kicks the dead ball, is carry out a 'multi-variable physics calculation in his head to compute the exact kick trajectory required and then execute it perfectly'.
Scientists have tried, not completely successfully, to explain what David does with a football by conducting endless experiments in wind tunnels. The phenomenon is called Magnus Theory whereby the air flow changes according to how fast the spinning football is travelling, which in turn influences swerve and dip. For a more detailed article about the aerodynamics of sports balls click Magnus Force Beckham can figure out, in a split second " how to balance the kick angle, kick speed, spin imparted and kick direction to get this optimal turbulent-laminar transition trajectory," one scientist explained. He concluded that David must be computing some very detailed calculation in a few seconds purely from instinct and practice. "Our computers take a few hours to do the same thing."
APLLIANCE OF SCIENCE
The scientists used wind tunnel techniques to help describe, for example, a memorable and vital goal that David scored in the dying seconds of a World Cup qualifier against Greece. The shot left his foot at 80mph from 27 metres (29.5 yards) out, they tell us, moved laterally over two metres (six feet six inches) during its flight due to the amount of spin he applied and during the last half of its flight suddenly slowed to 42mph, dipping into the top corner of the goal. When David curves a free-kick around a defensive wall and goalkeeper to score his goals, physics calculations show that at 25 m (27 yards )from the goal and a velocity of 25 m/s, Beckham can swing the soccer ball a staggering 4.57 m (15 feet) from the straight path by using spin.
DAVID DOES IT AGAIN
David came out on field here during the second half of what turned out to be a wonderful Championship League game the other night, between Manchester United and Spain's elite team , Real Madrid. United's Ruud van Nistelrooy was fouled by Real's Ivan Helguera and David took the free kick from 25yards out, right footed, bent it round the wall of world class players into the back of the net leaving their goalkeeper bewildered, stunned, and motionless. He scored again later in open play; United won 4-3 but were beaten on aggregate 6-5.
Science can't really adequately explain what David is able to do. When you see it, it has a kind of balletic beauty and magic. David just does it in a split second, without apparent thought or calculation, time and time again. What is amazing is that there are all these great goalkeepers who are very skilled in where they position themselves and are aware of David's reputation with free kicks. And yet, time and time again, he baffles the very best, makes them look pedestrian and scores from dead ball free kicks by putting a curve on the ball that is so hard for mere mortals to pre-guess. Notice the ball, in this still from the actual match of the free kick, already over the heads of some world class players and no sign at all of the goalkeeper in his yellow jersey. He is 'dead in the water' in the left corner of the goal where he expected the ball to come ( because the wall was covereing the right hand side of goal) and the ball actually flights into the top right of the goal, completely beyond reach.
johncoxon 9:57 AM - [Link] - Comments ()