Posts Tagged ‘soccer’

Indestructible Balls

I saw a Dyson commercial last night in which Sir James plainly spoke about how his aim has always been to do the things that other people always seem to avoid; to think about the solutions to the problems that most won’t even consider. Yes, he was most likely referring to ball-pivoting vacuum cleaners and bladeless fans, but the man certainly offered a good pitch. Rejecting the status quo is the stuff of progress. Just ask my man Galileo Galilei.

You can always count on America for innovation. Even in this yawning chasm of a recession, we’re coming up with all sorts of implements you never knew you needed. Amongst the ingenuity of late is an indestructible soccer ball:


This puppy is not just another shelf-filler at your neighborhood Dick’s. No, this spherical chunk of Proprietary Closed Cell Resin (cousin of Crocs) is built to withstand barbwire.

Husband and wife ballers Tim Jahnigen and Lisa Tarver introduced the ball — and One World Futbol — to the world after seeing the egregious conditions children in Darfur were playing in. As Jahnigen told the Chronicle, “Surrounded by barbed wire, amid hovels made of plastic, cardboard and sticks, children were playing an infectious game of soccer – using trash instead of a ball…[the] images of Darfur refugees were heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time.”

When Jahnigen heard that the trash-fashioned balls the children used tended to fall apart instantly, he didn’t just sulk and sympathize, he decided to do. Do what? Create an unstitched, airless football that would last forever–sustaining kicks in the harshest of environments.

It wasn’t easy, but with the help of dude’s wife and the brain trust over at Crocs HQ, the dream was realized. The thing went through some pretty rigorous testing, too. When Jahaigen traveled to the World Cup to promote the ball and give some away in impoverished townships, he made an additional stop in a lion’s den at the Johannesburg zoo. Final score? Ball – one, lion – nil.


Sir James Dyson has great ideas. His vacuum cleaners are a thing of beauty and help countless people suck countless things. You can’t knock the hustle, but I’m a sucker for the simple saves. The second that Tim Jahnigen took to consider the problem and extrapolate is the type of progress that fuels the soul. All it takes is an idea, and Sting. Yes, sometimes It takes Sting.

You see, Jahnigen didn’t have the money for research and development, so he called up his one-named acquaintance for some financial faith. The conversation went something like this:

Jahnigen: Hey, Sting buddy, I need some of that Police money for these indestructible balls I’m working on.

Sting: You could say I lost my faith in science and progress. You could say I lost my belief in the Holy Church. You could say I lost my sense of direction. You could say all of this and worse but…If I ever lose my faith in you, there’d be nothing left for me to do.

Jahnigen: Superb!

Thanks to San Francisco’s Chronicle.

Magic 8-Leg: Paul the Clairvoyant Octopus

In keeping with our animals theme this week, I humbly present Paul the Clairvoyant Octopus.

Paul, an octopus in Germany, has correctly predicted the winner of the last 4 World Cup matches involving Germany’s team. Paul’s 4-0 record, which included his prediction that Serbia would upset Germany in their match on June 18th, has garnered international attention.

Now, Paul has picked Germany to beat Argentina. Fans will watch with bated breath to see if the cephalopod has again divined the outcome of an expectedly tight match.

Read more at Der Spiegel.

Double Down: The Beautiful Game

Clive Rose/Getty Images

The World Cup is a big deal. This is no Winter Olympics, here. The beautiful game is all the rage because of its simplicity, its universality. Once every four years, the World Cup reminds us of our progress. Four years ago, we were head-butting in Berlin. Now, we’re euphoric and horny in South Africa. We’re threatening to out-tweet Twitter.

With an event of such magnitude, our nasty nemesis (read: bad) inevitably rears its ugly head. There’s a veritable smorgasbord of losers in South Africa that never even tie up their cleats: South Africa’s hidden homeless, Mother Nature, propriety. Still, it’s hard to argue that the bad trumps the good. Africa is psyched. Desmond Tutu is dancing. This are quite possibly transformative times.

Rodger Bosch/AFP/Getty Images

If you can’t get behind the ties and theatrics, get behind the spirit. Get behind the invisible phones. Get behind R. Kelly’s stupefying transmogrification from helplessly creepy sexaphor master to MJ-esque heal-the-world anthem ace: