England against Brazil. In Rio. In June. At the freshly renovated Maracana. Out steps the referee, leading the officials team, players following behind like goslings following the mother goose. Tucked securely under his arm is a bright, shiny orange ball. In June. In Rio. In Brazil.
Now, clearly this isn’t as outlandish as it’s being made out. Simply part of a sponsorship deal or a manufacturers promotional contract, but for British viewers, an orange ball only means one thing. Snow. And I’m pretty sure we aren’t going to see any snow in Rio tonight.
An Orange ball is a rarity in the top leagues these days, with under soil heating and grounds teams working round the clock, snow doesn’t really effect pitches outside of non league and lower division football. So, for the majority of TV viewers tonight, or maybe it’s just me, an Orange ball gives a massive sense of nostalgia. It makes me think of football in the 80’s. Men with moustaches. And shaggy hair. And short shorts. Tight short shorts. And career ending tackles where the ref doesn’t even blow. But most importantly, snow on the pitch and a orange ball. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of being a wee lad, but it is quite exciting to see an orange ball. Remembering winter evenings watching Match if the day with games with white pitches and players, fans and officials carrying on regardless. It’s a shame that with increasing years comes increasing cynicism.
But alas, no snow in Rio tonight. No moustaches and no short shorts. But still there is football. And the eternal feeling of youth.