The length of a throw in is a physicist’s dream.
They see aerodynamics like a child views ice cream
they love muscle arrangements and projection velocity
and they make equations to express a player’s ferocity
but kinetics, kinetics – it’s all in the throw
in the instinctive angle when the ball is let go
at the appropriate moment for optimum power
to set up a goal and, later, the shower.
You may see footballers as overpaid mules
but you rest on your laurels if you take them for fools.
They’ve moved the goalposts for science and the jumpers as well
just by throwing a ball at the Kop or the Dell
though it’s more by trial than equation that they achieve great results.
If they were calculating, there’d be no press driven cults,
no World Cup frenzy, no Beckham fixation –
they’d march on like robots in 4-4-2 formation.
Their contribution to science is under-reported.
By measuring footballers’ egos, so vast and distorted
physicists have learned how the universe started.
In a previous existence, a footballer darted
down through the galaxies to where a great throw
dropped a ball like a meteorite right at his toe
and this proto-Peter Crouch kicked it through a black hole –
so the echo in the universe is a long shout of “Gooooaaaaal!”
It’s all over the tabloids what they’ve done for biology
and Rooney’s spud head is an icon for phrenology
but did you know Desmond Morris wrote parts of The Human Zoo
after studying footballers and the strange things they do?
Again the throw in is key to the way that they work
as they prowl and they feint and they dodge and they lurk
down at the goal mouth in a way Freud would have adored.
Just look how they chest beat after they’ve scored.
All humans build up to a series of set pieces.
The throw in is perfect for explaining this thesis
as it’s all about eye contact, gesture and cunning
whilst delaying things enough to stay in the running.
It’s bestial instinct that drives the beautiful game
for 90 minutes when footballers switch off their fame
but there’s little point studying them when they’re off the pitch
as there’s nothing to learn from the lazily rich.