World Cup 2010 has started. The game of soccer as presented at the World Cup level is a trance-like experience. The constant drone of the bee-swarm horns. The chess of the most talented players in the world exploiting the geometries and Newtonian mechanics on the field. The color and frenzy and sing-song of the fans. The English as-spoken-elsewhere-in-the-world of the British and African announcers on ESPN. The artistry of a well-passed goal and the over-acting of these same artists when fouled. I can't stop watching.
On another note, I encountered a different type of soccer at the Bowdoin field house a couple months ago. It was the collegiate robotics soccer tournament. The robots were programmed to make their own decisions - no remote control involved. It was not the fastest of games. There were no tools of destruction. But it had its own charm. Clearly the most important thing the robots needed to know was how to stand back up after they had fallen down.