I’ve spent the better part of the last week watching power soccer. The Nations Cup has been taking place in Finland, and the top five teams from the European zone will earn the right to compete in the 2021 FIPFA World Cup in Sydney, Australia.
I can’t help but think how remarkable it is to be able to live in the time when I have the ability to watch something that I enjoy from across the world. A great deal of thanks obviously goes to Power Soccer Shop who provides the video stream. Without them, I would not be watching this, but even as recent as 25 years ago, even with all of the best intentions in the world, I would not be watching power soccer in Finland. The type of technology that would have been needed that at time to broadcast across the world was simply not accessible to normal people. Unless you were a major media outlet, this type of programming simply was not an option.
This came to mind because recently I have been talking to people about the virtues and vices of technology. A lot of times it is really easy for us to get down on technology. It makes it easier for people to do lots of bad things. It is often times said that technology is just a tool. The way that we use it determines whether it is good or bad. Obviously, people can do a lot of bad things, even with just a simple computer. However, I couldn’t help but be grateful for the technology that allowed me to be able to watch a sport that I love to play from across the world.
From purely a power soccer perspective here, this tournament also served to open my eyes. Just like able-bodied soccer, every country plays with a very distinct style. When you watch a team from the United States play, you can simply tell by the style they play that they are from the greatest country in the world. When you watch the British team play with their wide-open style and emphasis on passing across the court, you would know even without looking at the uniforms who was playing. The French play a different style completely the emphasizes the skills of their top two players and attempts to free them up to make plays on the ball.
For someone like myself who has very little international exposure beyond the United States and Canada, it always amazes me to see how different countries interpret the same game. The strategies that play out on the court are sometimes effective and sometimes not, but having the ability to compare and contrast is certainly valuable to players. Who knows what strategy from Denmark or Finland may be able to effectively help an American team as we all descend on Fort Wayne, Indiana next month for our own national tournament? Could there be a set play that France executed perfectly that ultimately inspires an American team to try it? Could that same set play determine the American national champion? Sure, why not?
These are the types of things that technology makes possible. I can’t help but think of that scene in Miracle where the American team is watching film reels on the Soviet men’s hockey team. That is what they had to deal with. It wasn’t real time, and it wasn’t widely available. They couldn’t just go online and find film to learn. We have so many more resources available to us right now even for a much more obscure sport that has only recently started gaining some national popularity. That is something that is pretty amazing about technology and how it has interacted with our sport.
Beyond that, when we play power soccer, we play matches maybe once a month. Sometimes a little more, and sometimes a little less, but I would say that is about average. What you do during the weeks in between your own games? It is great to have something else to watch. It helps keep your mind turned on. For example, we had games last weekend. We are not going to play anymore matches until the middle of June when we are at nationals. That means we are talking about a month without games. We have practice, and obviously we work hard during those sessions, but it is a little bit different. Consequently, even though these are not games that I am playing, getting plugged into that kind of atmosphere, even though I am not literally there is useful. It helps me think about what I need to do, how I need to react, and what I should think about in certain situations. It may seem kind of odd, and it might not seem to make a lot of sense. Watching power soccer on the Internet is very different from playing it. That said, some of the thoughts of the same, and it helps me to have those thoughts more than once a month.
I guess when it comes right down to it, I know that technology is the type of thing that can be abused. I know there are plenty of times that even I myself have complained about all of the ways that technology has weakened community and changed the world in less than favorable ways. However, that being said, it struck me as it was watching that it is really important for me to step back and think about, specifically for our sport, how it has changed things for the better.