“Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas.”
“Blessed is he who understands the causes of things.”
Virgil is of course referring to the science of agriculture in his work, Georgics. But Virgil was an Epicurean. Epicurus while acknowledging the existence of the gods also happens to be among the first known philosophers who also in a way undermines them. As Jamie Hamilton notes, Epicurus emphasizes “the influence that one can proactively exert on the world around them through free will”. How one plays a game and how a game develops is more often than not through the actions of individuals.
At the same time however sport is not played in a vacuum. As C.L.R. James wrote in Beyond a Boundary, “What do they know of cricket, who only cricket know?” This applies to all other sports too. Like everything else in life, it too is a part of society and is governed by its rules and conventions.
Why do the Brazilians play in the style that they do? Why did Total Football evolve in the Netherlands and not anywhere else? What motivated two Algerians in the much talked about French team to suddenly travel secretly to Tunisia and uphold Algerian claim for independence only a couple of weeks before the 1958 World Cup? Why do we keep calling Iceland’s Euro 2016 campaign the country’s first tournament run when the women’s team has actually played in major tournaments long before them? While these are important questions, they are often left unanswered. And it is precisely these questions that we will seek to answer through incisive long-form articles on the intersection of football, history, politics, and culture.
Oh, the name? There’s nothing to it really. The founders of this website are enormous fans of Johan Cruyff and as any football fan would know, he stressed on the rondo during training sessions. That’s about it really.