Rather than dwell on the utterly depressing incident in cricket this week, the Black Caps loss, ah, I mean the horrible incident in Pakistan, it’s time to reflect on the joy sport can bring – however minor and insignificant it may seem in the shadow of current events. Yep, it’s time to salute another DeadBall Icon.
When attending a live sporting event, most fans are content to cheer their team on, participate in some organised chanting and perhaps create some type of witty sign. But how many spectators are ready to perform incredible feats of athleticism?
Sure, at a cricket match you may, in the back of your mind, visualise the ball being hit your way. You may even strategise your technique for fear of dropping the ball and facing the jeers from your friends and the thousands watching. Maybe that’s why so much is made when someone actually pulls this kind of catch of. It’s a rare moment when the athlete/spectator divide is broken, whilst also a chance for someone to make a grand fool of themselves. To perform under that pressure is tough. This poorly edited YouTube clip illustrates the extent to which we are willing to celebrate those who do:[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIvVRF5XGPI%5D
But where the above fan was merely a passive recipient of glory, the following DeadBall icon actively pursued it; pressure be damned. Not only is this one of the finest examples of fandom in sporting history, it’s also one hell of a mullet:[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8QFMe6Uz3Q%5D
I remember seeing this on the news when I was younger and thinking “he must have been planning that”. And there is a certain amount of premeditation to the above incredible act, as though he was ready to, at any moment, pounce on the opportunity as it sailed through the goal posts and towards his seat. From his comments in the post-catch interview, it’s clear he was aching for a football career, “I play defense, offense, I got great hands”. I’m not sure he got his football career, but he did get my respect. Whether planned or not, there seems to be some unrestrained joy in this man, a love of football so great that, when confronted with a pigskin flying through the air, no height or danger was great enough to contain him. Like the joy a dog has in catching a tennis ball – it’s simple, pure and a little bit stupid. It’s also highly infectious – igniting the imagination of both commentators and fans alike. You can still feel the buzz of the stadium in that grainy clip.