Occasionally, a sports documentary -- or, in this case, a mini or micro-doc -- comes along that sweeps aside all the cynicism that so often seems to drag sports down into the gutter and reminds us that at the roots, sports really are all about having fun. Rarely have any succeeded at that aim better than "l'equip petit," (the little team) a 9:00 piece about the Margatania F.C. youth soccer team from the Catalonia region of Spain.
As first pointed out by the KCKRS soccer blog (with a hat tip to Prep Rally's soccer-inclined blog Dirty Tackle), "l'equip petit" documents the struggle of one very young (probably 5-year-olds?) soccer team forced to take on older and/or bigger and faster competition to get in actual matches.
The results follow as one might expect: Every week, Margatania gets beaten down ... badly. In fact, the team can't seem to score a goal to save its life. Relying almost entirely upon the relative heroics of goalkeeper Haritz (whose every move from cookie-laden breakfast to frustrated dirt kicking is documented by cameras), the team struggles to get much going offensively altogether.
Yet, as if to act out a perfect sports parable, the team insists that it is OK that it has never scored a goal. After all, each and every player says that they're having fun, and that is what's important, right?
Yes, that is what's important, which is precisely why the film is so overwhelmingly touching, even after the team scores its first goal in the final game of its season, bringing its final goals for/goals against tally to 1 for ... and 271 against.
As KCKRS points out, the fact that such profligacy in front of goal comes so close (geographically) to the highest scoring professional team of recent times at F.C. Barcelona makes the story all the more striking, and perhaps somehow more poignant.
No word on what inspired Barcelona-based ad agency and film company El Cangrejo to create the un-sponsored passion project, but we can all hope there's a follow-up, regardless of how many goals are involved.