============================================= From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ariel Mazzarelli) Subject: Is there beauty in a gol scored with the hand? Date: July 20, 1995 The issue came up in another thread, whether we should not reserve our archive of golazos to those golazos that actually fit strictly within the laws of the game. The poster, Mr. Baty@uk, suggested that to do otherwise would require us to include actions in futbol that would, well, it made it sound like rugby. Now I was lucky enough to catch some of the games from the last rugby world cup, and they were excellent. That was certainly not an event that made me think "they are showing this instead of futbol?" However, rugby and futbol are quite different, and it is a good idea to keep them different. So certainly the laws of the game are meant to be respected, and by now may even be venerated. Think of your initial, primordial, electrochemical reaction when someone begins a sentence with "Hey, soccer would be better if they made a new rule so that..." So naturally if someone suggests that a goal scored with the hand is clearly foul (the rules say so quite precisely), it is easy to agree. Yet, there are a few scenarios that are exceptions. One of them is so obvious that I still cannot understand why it has never been brought up before; what happens if a goalkeeper stops a shot, sees the opponent's goal unprotected, and throws the ball the full length of the field? Now that would be a GOLAZO. Impossible, you say? More on that later. Another scenario involves a forward who has made an excellent play, passed the libero and the goalkeeper, begins to shoot into the empty goal when a defender comes from behind and fouls him viciously, breaking the forward's ankle, but unable to stop the shot. As the forward falls, his hand taps the ball, which continues into the net. Not only is this not impossible, it has probably happened, and probably many times roughly along those lines. Are these not golazos? Do you deny the gol to the forward as he gets sent to the hospital? Of course not. Yet another scenario involves a crucial world cup match, played before 120,000 people in the stadium and over 500 million on live worldwide tv. After dominating the game, yet being unable to score, the world's greatest player fights for a high ball with the opposing goalkeeper, who is a foot taller, jumping as high as he can, and fully extending his arm. After they clash over the ball, it goes the wrong way, into the goal. Now classical mechanics will tell you that the forward must have used his arm; if it is further analyzed, even then it does not seem to make sense. So it is quite logical to think "handball", and easy to say it... but how can the shorter man extend and retract his arm so quickly? Well, no matter, the replays will show it is so. The replays, however, are shockingly inconclusive. Perhaps the optical equipment could be improved, perhaps one should really have more than the four classical vantage points that the tv image provides. Nonetheless, the fact remains that in the late twentieth century, with the ability to scroll frame by frame in the replay, the "logical" explanation was not forthcoming. Shortly afterwards, other fascinating events occur and the game ends with the handball being the scoring difference. Almost in supplication, the forward is asked how he scored the first goal. He replies that a divine hand intervened to make it so. A humorous remark, to be sure. Yet, how can the man who is a foot shorter outreach the much taller man who is fully extending his arm... without himself extending his arm in such a manner that any decent replay from any angle would see it? I do not know if a providential explanation is required, but in all these years a logical one has not occurred to me. Is this a golazo? It was extraterrestial, beyond the limits of human comprehension, in front of 500 million people. The addendum of golazo to the list of adjectives associated with it is but a nuance. These examples are all golazos as far as I can tell. It is one perspective (which I agree with) that the rules in futbol are "good". The handball rule is crucial, of course, and of course it must remain as it is now. It is the ability to create a special play within these rules that is most admired. Yet sometimes, rules are strained, and far less frequently, something amazing happens as a result. This is just as true in futbol as it is in music, in science, in practically any human endeavor. There is another category of infraction, however, that of sportsmanship. The breaching of such rules are, by their very definition, distasteful, because the rules of sportsmanship are basically the rules by which we abide "willingly". However, there is a very great variety when it comes to matters of taste: for some, any form of violence lacks sportsmanship, for others it is the manipulation of officials that is the greatest breach, etc. So it is here, with the notion of sportsmanship, that all the debates are really carried out. Everything from "turnabout is fair play" to "we call our own fouls" is a matter of perspective, of choice. Since we do not have a universal code for these matters, the debate goes on. =========================================== From: email@example.com (Ariel Mazzarelli) Date: [pre-1997] Membership has its privileges. When Maradona was the best player in the world, he was also the most fouled player in the world. As compensation, he was allowed to touch the ball with his hand in crucial circumstances. Let us remember that summer day in Ciudad Mexico in 1986 when Argentina played against England. Five minutes into the second half, Peter Reid tried to clear a ball from the English zone back towards the goalkeeper, Peter Shilton. Inadvertently among all those large defenders, Diego snuck behind the line and beat Shilton to it. The referee, following the play from behind, looked briefly at the linesman, then awarded a goal. Diego takes a peep back towards the referee, and when he sees the signal he starts to celebrate. His teammates greet him with complicituous smiles whilst Shilton and most of his teammates protest vociferously in the referee's face. Asked about the goal after the game, Diego replied "Ese gol lo hizo la mano de Dios." Perhaps the most famous line in the history of futbol. How could the referee miss the handball? Diego is a foot shorter than Shilton, who had leapt forward fist first in the air, and yet the little man had touched the ball first. Surely he must have used his hand? Surely he must have, but even the instant replay is not an obvious witness. In the back of our minds, a little voice whispers that if a man can cheat with such skill, it is only cheating in the technical sense of the word. Another whispers a bit more loudly that, after all, Diego was only compensating for Shilton's larger size; and after all, if Shilton can use his hand, why not also Diego? This voice whispers somewhere below the top level of our consciousness, where perhaps we are not aware of it when we hear it. Perhaps that referee on that day was caught offguard by it. I think that by now, having evaluated all these factors, one could be allowed the luxury of claiming this as a real goal.