The Pure Motive

On the advent of Messimas, and our need to believe in Leo.
Share |

Artist's rendition of Sr L. Messi

It seems to happen around this time every year that the enthusiasm for Lionel Messi reaches dangerously swoontabulous levels. Messi is everywhere at all times, of course, but a god still needs a festival. Let's call it Messimas. One of the most impressive acts of worship this Messimas is a YouTube video called "Lionel Messi never dives." It compiles instances of the variously desperate (not to say violent) measures by which Messi's opponents have tried to halt his progress on the field, as if he were mortal or something. It may be the greatest tribute a player could have: when defenders see you less as an opponent than as a demon spirit that must banished back to the realm of nightmares, you've made it, kid.

There's barging and all manner of grappling; there are studs to the hip; there are ankle taps and sneaky shirt-pulls and successive outrageously late sliding tackles. Sometimes, it almost looks choreographed. In one clip, two defenders simultaneously launch into flying tackles from 4 and 8 o'clock respectively, causing our man to no more than stumble. Another pair try to close in on him like sliding doors. He looks like a sentient pinball flinging itself around the machine while attached to another, smaller pinball. And on each occasion, as per the video's title, he refuses to take sanctuary in the solid earth and the referee's whistle. Messi is a player who will dribble into a swarm of defenders, get knocked to the ground, yet emerge upright on the other side, never having lost control of the ball; he is a storm chaser who drives straight through the tempest. More than once while watching the video, I laughed, and in doing so recalled Brian Phillips' essay on Pelé as a comedian, "the kind that revels in turning the order of things upside down so that it can give you the giddy satisfaction of seeing them turned right-side up again." Messi always seems to seek that resolution. It's as if, when he has the ball at his feet, there is to him nothing else. Time spent on the floor pleading with the officials for mercy is time spent not playing football. Here is Messi's much vaunted playground spirit in distilled form.

That is, we assume that Messi's habitual refusal to dive is born of a connection to a purity forsaken by the common-or-garden footballer—or worse, by the merely excellent footballer. It may be true. But "diving" is a loaded word. For many in and around soccer, it represents the very worst side of the game: something so common and so unspeakably dastardly that when someone doesn't do it, the band strikes up. But it's not so simple. At the white end of the spectrum, you have Messi; at the black, you have those who consistently manufacture the appearance of a foul out of nothing. In between, there is the kind of foul surreptitious enough to discommode the player on the ball without drawing attention to itself as a foul. The player fouled will often make the most of it, precisely to draw attention to the foul. Is this a way of helping the ref do his job, or just a conventionalized con-trick? Either way, it's a skill most gifted players have to learn as a means of self-protection, especially those players slight of stature.

Players such as Theo Walcott. He either hasn't learned the skill, or just doesn't avail of it often enough for his own sake. A video called "Theo Walcott never dives" is perfectly feasible. Half of it would consist of him using his sprinter's pace to evade ne'er-do-wells. The other half would consist of him being knocked off balance by stronger, cannier opponents. He might be infused with that same Messiesque playground spirit, but we don't rejoice in his innocence—we bemoan his naivety. And here is the clue to what lies beneath our reaction to Messi's indomitability. Messi rarely avails of the skill. He is possessed of such exceptional balance, agility, close control, reactions and acceleration, and of the ability to exercise all of these qualities at once, that he rarely needs to. We're rejoicing less in his innocence than in his old-fashioned imperial majesty.

But we want to believe in that innocence. Or to put another way, when we watch Messi, we get to imagine what it would look like if no one was watching at all. The only true purity in sport was when people only played because playing was fun. Then, people noticed that watching it was fun, and this in turn was noticed. Sport became conscious of the spectator's gaze, and altered as a consequence. Diving of whatever shade happens because the moral authority that governs the game was in large part devolved to the referee: a policeman to appeal to or fool or accuse of venality. That devolution occurred because the participants couldn't be trusted with that authority. The participants couldn't be trusted because the games had become too important. The games had become too important because people started watching, puncturing the membrane between the sport's pure spirit and letting the latter mingle with the air without in all its freshness and foulness.

We thus watch football accompanied by a quiet drone of guilt. But even when the volume spikes, we rarely feel it as guilt. We see players transformed by the attention, and deflect the blame onto them while praising ourselves for having looked at them in the first place. We watched Ronaldinho's smile slowly turn into a grimace, and reacted by saying that tubby needed to stay in at night. Messi, however, seems unmoved in any direction. Watching him is a relief from the drone. To remain in contact with the purity of sport, we don't have to gouge out our eyes or picket stadia or sabotage OB trucks, or even play the game ourselves. We can just watch Lionel Messi. Messi absolves our sins and cleanses our souls. After all, Messimas coincides with Lent.


Share |

Comments

Three are usually cheap Ralph Lauren available for sale each and every time you wish to buy. They're produced by the very best degree developers who will be distinguished for your polo dress creating. You'll find polo Ron Lauren inside exclusive array which include particular classes for men, women.buy usa twitter followers

After reading your article I was amazed. I know that you explain it very well. And I hope that other readers will also experience how I feel after reading your article. I feel very grateful that I read this. It is very helpful and very informative and I really learned a lot from it. http://www.superiorhealthsupplement.com/how-to-buy-the-laminine-supplement/

I recently came across your article and have been reading along. I want to express my admiration of your writing skill and ability to make readers read from the beginning to the end. I would like to read newer posts and to share my thoughts with you.Somerville Dog Walking

I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to start my own BlogEngine blog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a fine example of it.anzac day tours

Beirut escorts Very your blog is really remarkable.... it embodys awesome besides odd info. I liked to visiting your blog. It's true amazing.... Blesss really ample.

Messi is a player who will dribble into a swarm of defenders, get knocked to the ground, yet emerge upright on the other side, never having lost control of the ball; he is a storm chaser who drives straight through the tempest.
escorts beirut

Great tips and very easy to understand. This will definitely be very useful for me when I get a chance to start my blog.pisos conductivos

measures by which Messi's opponents have tried to halt his progress on the field, as if he were mortal or something. It may be the greatest tribute a player could have: when defenders see you less as an opponent than as a demon spirit that must banished back to the realm of nightmares, you've made it, kid.beiru escorts

Excellent Blog! I would like to thank for the efforts you have made in writing this post. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. I wanted to thank you for this websites! Thanks for sharing. Great websites! wire

Thank you for your post, I look for such article along time, today i find it finally. this post give me lots of advise it is very useful for me. Carpeting

wow, great, I was wondering how to cure acne naturally. and found your site by google, learned a lot, now i’m a bit clear. I’ve bookmark your site and also add rss. keep us updated.minecraft forge 1.8

Truly, this article is really one of the very best in the history of articles. I am a antique ’Article’ collector and I sometimes read some new articles if I find them interesting. And I found this one pretty fascinating and it should go into my collection. Very good work! Minecraft PE 0.11.1

Going to graduate school was a positive decision for me. I enjoyed the coursework, the presentations, the fellow students, and the professors. And since my company reimbursed 100% of the tuition, the only cost that I had to pay on my own was for books and supplies. Otherwise, I received a free master’s degree. All that I had to invest was my time. Ladies Toweling Dressing Gown

I'm impressed, I must say. Very rarely do I come across a blog thats both informative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you ve hit the nail on the head. Your blog is important..Naija

The worst part of it was that the software only worked intermittently and the data was not accurate. You obviously canot confront anyone about what you have discovered if the information is not right.wooden blinds

This is an excellent post I seen thanks to share it. It is really what I wanted to see hope in future you will continue for sharing such a excellent post.Paris Music backing tracks

I'm impressed, I must say. Very rarely do I come across a blog thats both informative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you ve hit the nail on the head. Your blog is important..Midbrain Activation

Regular visits listed here are the easiest method to appreciate your energy, which is why why I am going to the website everyday, searching for new, interesting info. Many, thank you!happy new year shayari

And on each occasion, as per the video's title, he refuses to take sanctuary in the solid earth and the referee's whistle. Messi is a player who will dribble into a swarm of defenders, get knocked to the ground, yet emerge upright on the other side, never having lost control of the ball; he is a storm chaser who drives straight through the tempest.
gold plated earrings

He looks like a sentient pinball flinging itself around the machine while attached to another, smaller pinball. And on each occasion, as per the video's title, he refuses to take sanctuary in the solid earth and the referee's whistle.
women leather wallets

I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also. Keep working, great job ! Masterbuilt 30-inch Electric Smoker

Took me time to understand all of the comments, but I seriously enjoyed the write-up. It proved being really helpful to me and Im positive to all of the commenters right here! Its constantly nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! I am certain you had enjoyable writing this write-up.bail bonds

The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I actually thought you have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you werent too busy looking for attention.Super King Size Duvet

I have bookmarked your website because this site contains valuable information in it. I am really happy with articles quality and presentation. Thanks a lot for keeping great stuff. I am very much thankful for this site.paleo restart

Glad to chat your blog, I seem to be forward to more reliable articles and I think we all wish to thank so many good articles, blog to share with us. I will really appreciate the writer's choice for choosing this excellent article appropriate to my matter.Here is deep description about the article matter which helped me more.20v dewalt drill

A good blog always comes-up with new and exciting information and while reading I have feel that this blog is really have all those quality that qualify a blog to be a one.I wanted to leave a little comment to support you and wish you a good continuation. Wishing you the best of luck for all your blogging efforts.http://www.6912b22010a.com/

Three are usually cheap Ralph Lauren available for sale each and every time you wish to buy. They're produced by the very best degree developers who will be distinguished for your polo dress creating. You'll find polo Ron Lauren inside exclusive array which include particular classes for men, women.Free vps

"Going to graduate school was a positive decision for me. I enjoyed the coursework, the presentations, the fellow students, and the professors. And since my company reimbursed 100% of the tuition, the only cost that I had to pay on my own was for books and supplies. Otherwise, I received a free master’s degree. All that I had to invest was my time. goclixy.com

Its as if you had a great grasp on the subject matter, but you forgot to include your readers. Perhaps you should think about this from more than one angle.garden path edgings

Very interesting information, worth recommending. However, I recommend this:
publishers australia 480 medium to high

I was just browsing through the internet looking for some information and came across your blog. I am impressed by the information that you have on this blog. It shows how well you understand this subject. Bookmarked this page, will come back for more.navigate here

Gangaur Realtech is a professionally managed organisation specializing in real estate services where integrated services are provided by professionals to its clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying or investing in real estate. I am impressed by the information that you have on this blog. It shows how well you understand this subject.Top Creams for Age Spots

I just got to this amazing site not long ago. I was actually captured with the piece of resources you have got here. Big thumbs up for making such wonderful blog page! kettlebell swing

This is also a very good post which I really enjoyed reading. It is not every day that I have the possibility to see something like this.. office cleaning sydney

I like viewing web sites which comprehend the price of delivering the excellent useful resource free of charge. I truly adored reading your posting. Thank you! http://www.kbgoldreview.com/

On that website page, you'll see your description, why not read through this.
Arabic Coffee Beans

We Are A Full-Service Provider Of High Quality Backlinks That Help Boost Traffic, Increase Rankings, And Build Authority. With Years Of Experience We Know Exactly What Type Of Manual Dofollow Blog Comments It Takes To Quickly Increase Your Online Visibility
High PR Links

I finally found great post here.I will get back here. I just added your blog to my bookmark sites. thanks.Quality posts is the crucial to invite the visitors to visit the web page, that's what this web page is providing. unity5

Gangaur Realtech is a professionally managed organisation specializing in real estate services where integrated services are provided by professionals to its clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying or investing in real estate. I am impressed by the information that you have on this blog. It shows how well you understand this subject.used cars lancaster

It is really no surprise that this building was found to have bed bugs infesting it. I mean, it is in New York city, which is pretty disgusting itself. And some of the people who work there, even if they do make decent wages, probably don't make enough to afford what is considered a "nice" place to live in New York City. Especially in midtown, of all places.Egyptian Cotton Pillows

I’m excited to uncover this page. I need to to thank you for ones time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every part of it and i also have you saved to fav to look at new information in your site. seo

wow, great, I was wondering how to cure acne naturally. and found your site by google, learned a lot, now i’m a bit clear. I’ve bookmark your site and also add rss. keep us updated.videosurveillance professionnelle

I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also. Keep working, great job ! Nutribullet

I want you to thank for your time of this wonderful read!!! I definately enjoy every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff of your blog a must read blog!!!!locksmith perth 24 hour

I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article.window cleaners

The matter you we highlighted above is surely value able for anyone to workout. the concept of your article is very true and It will result in a positive way.best shaving

This is such a awesome info for me, since i do an online career thats reason i wish quick Internet link, i explore how to bost internet dispatch therefore ireach at a perquisite arrange Birthday wishes for Boyfriend

how to get followers on instagram instantly Here you will learn what is important, it gives you a link to an interesting web page: how to buy likes on instagram

Gangaur Realtech is a professionally managed organisation specializing in real estate services where integrated services are provided by professionals to its clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying or investing in real estate. I am impressed by the information that you have on this blog. It shows how well you understand this subject.locksmith miami

I have to search sites with relevant information on given topic and provide them to teacher our opinion and the article.Make money station