I’ve been watching the Euro 2020 football matches on TV – to the surprise of some of my friends. But I find that things are always interesting once you start to know a bit about them, and as there is so much coverage of the championship, it makes sense to take an interest.
As I don’t know the first thing about football, I watch as if I’m watching a musical performance, or perhaps a dance event. I use the same yardsticks that I do when assessing how convincing a musical ensemble is – tempo, flow, intensity, dynamic movement, individual brilliance. The relationship of each player with the ball (in this analogy, ball = music). The ‘entrainment’ one can observe in the way the whole team moves around the pitch, which differs quite a bit from one team to another.
Surprisingly, or perhaps not all that surprisingly, my musical yardsticks work rather well. I’m often right about which team is going to win, even though I couldn’t join in with the most basic discussion of football tactics. I suppose it’s only natural that the same ingredients of tempo and flow which have to be mastered for a musical performance should be discernible on the sports field as well.