Some of the best things I know are things that aren’t planned. A surprisingly good record, something funny that suddenly happens before your eyes, a person who shows up in a new light. The underdog who wins against all odds, but also the winner who delivers and comes across as surprisingly vulnerable and humble. True happiness, true sorrow.
And as I got older, I discovered that this net had an increasingly strong effect on me. And I think I know why: because it’s not rehearsed, but real. In a world where we are exposed to an enormous amount of control through the media we consume, what is not planned and rehearsed in detail becomes very valuable.
He jumps, as if he would never stop. An obsessed man. The look is desperate, with an expression of spontaneous confusion and disbelief
At every FIFA World Cup, I sat with the same childish expectation. I’ve followed all the World Cups since 1982. As I’m not the nostalgic type, I don’t miss the old tournaments. I see that football has become much better. The tempo, the collective offensive game, the tactics.
But I’m missing one thing. Real, jubilant, wild joy, as I saw it on Christmas Eve 1982. Because I saw Marco Tardelli applaud. In the 1982 World Cup final. I’ve never seen feelings expressed like that.
It’s the middle of the second half. Especially at this point in the game when going from 1-0 to 2-0 means you can feel the odds of winning shift from a hopeful to a probable outcome. Germany pushes for equalization. So when Italy grabs the ball and counters, Germany is off balance. But the attack stops a bit. Scirea has the ball on his side and can pass it to Tardelli just outside the 16-yard box.
And Tardel? Well, the reception is rather bad. He gets the goof on his side, and as he sends a shot off guard, he’s about to go down, but the shot is still clean. And hard. The ball goes sideways for the goalkeeper, in the long corner, in the goal.
What happens to Marco Tardelli when he scores in the World Cup final in 1982?
He jumps, as if he would never stop. An obsessed man. The look is desperate, with an expression of spontaneous confusion and disbelief. He shakes his head sideways and holds out his hands as if in thanks. Shouting: “Goal!”. He is a man in ecstasy, an ecstasy produced by a joy so strong that it is difficult to find a sensible expression in it. He just has to go out. And it came out!
Who was Marco Tardelli in 1982? Nobody in the world of football, one of the best midfielders of all time. An inside runner and what the British would call box to box player who used to participate in the attack and score occasionally. It was the second score in the championship, during his second World Cup. In other words, it’s not strange that Tardelli is in the World Cup or scoring goals, that’s not why he’s an unbeliever.
If you have seen it, you will not have forgotten it. It’s an iconic nod, but not unique. Go back to YouTube and look for classic celebrations: Nobby Stiles dancing when England won the World Cup, full-back Josimar shooting wide – and countless others.
All different – but also with something in common: they are real, completely handicapped. It is the celebration in true absolute joy.
Contrary to many cheers that we will see from Qatar, and that we can see every week in international football. Various repeated jumps, runs, moves, club badge kisses, corner flag dance, text t-shirts, flexing muscles and celebrating in front of the fans.
It’s not that we don’t see joy in 2022. There’s joy everywhere. But how often do you see an image on social media, a TV show, or a football game where the reactions and outbursts of emotion aren’t repeated? Where did they come from? Too rare. I myself often experience seeing what appear to me to be supposed or predicted sensations.
Have we all been rehearsed? Additions to repeated exercises?
Canadian media scientist Marshall McLuhan launched the theory that made headlines many years ago “The media is the message”. The idea is that the medium through which we communicate has an impact on the content we convey, and that each medium thus favors certain types of messages and forms of communication.
The book; it’s long, nuanced and time-consuming, and perfect for nuance and depth. Twitter, on the other hand, is a quick and easy way for an immediate response. Or to compare policy requirements for speech in physical meeting vs. TV: The physical general meeting requires a speech with big words and facts, which can lead the audience in a suggestive way. Television, on the other hand, requires communication with small words and stronger feelings that can reach millions of people through a screen, each for us.
The celebration of the past on the football pitch – much like the parties, vacations, tours and mountain trips of yore – was primarily for those present. Today’s celebrations – and parties, vacations, tours and mountain trips – are for sharing movies and images via tiktok, Instagram, Snapchat and other channels.
Much of what we are told today, whether in entertainment, politics or sports, passes of them media filter: First of all, it’s on film. Secondly, it is transformed into short clips or film extracts which are then distributed on various social networks. Here they pass over, in a huge competition with others.
What should be ? That it is visual, short and immediate – and easy to decipher so that we understand immediately. It must be very small clips that can create a “fire”. The mark of international football stars or simply the mark of the family. Recognition, which can create more followers and supporters. Who can sell the global product that is a footballer today.
This places completely different demands on a celebration. It should preferably be repeated!
The paradox, of course, is that Tardelli’s celebration was made available by the television medium. Before writing this article, I went to the social network YouTube and saw several short films cut from various television images and interviews about this incident. The unprecedented and utter ecstasy that Tardelli displayed has become iconic because it has not been repeated – but is today conveyed through television and social media.
Tardelli has been interviewed many times about those few seconds of his life. In one, he said, “The celebration was a release after a dream came true. I was born with this cry inside me, and in the blink of an eye it came out.” Go to YouTube now and search for her real joy.
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