If I asked you the shape of a football I’d take a stab that you would answer ‘round’ and you’d be correct. Sort of. You might say ‘spherical’ and you’d be a wanker and you’d still only be sort of correct.

The urge to kick balls has been around for ages. Legend and historical references believe that the Chinese used to kick human heads and animal bladders through a net spread between two poles in a game called ‘tsu chu’ as early as 255 BC.

The Egyptians, Greeks and Romans are also believed to have used skulls in a similar fashion. The people of one village would dribble it towards the village square before the connecting village would kick the skull back to the first.

Come 1836, Charles Goodyear patented vulcanised rubber and twenty odd years later he’d created the first football. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. thought this was a good enough feat to name their company after him, so Charlie’s legacy lives on in blimps as well as balls.

Eventually, in 1863, the ball was used in a match between Oneida and Boston Schools, some of the first organised football clubs in the US. Now it lies in a semi-deflated state in the National Soccer Hall of Fame in New York, a place I have added to my Bucket List since learning of this gem of football history.

The English Football Association was formed soon after and they set out the rules of the game we know now as football. They didn’t give a stuff about what the ball looked like until 1872 when they agreed that it “must be spherical with a circumference of 27 to 28 inches”. FIFA seemed to like this because it’s still one of their laws today.

Not much has really changed except for the material shape of the panels. If not for some added detail about a leather outer in 1956 we could be using an exercise ball or my dad’s head or the round hanging plant on my balcony in the next FIFA World Cup. Instead one of those aerodynamically-improved and pompously-named super-balls are all the rage right now.

But today, when you really get up in the noggin of a traditional football, however, you’d see that it’s got paneled shapes that all join together, curved up a little bit to get that ‘spherical’ look. The black bits are pentagons and the white bits are hexagon so that sixty little corners all meet up to make this funky sounding shape called a truncated icosahedron.

So it’s round. But not quite.

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A 20 year old Media and Law student trying to tame those stream-of-consciousness writing habits with an ickle bit of fun at the Central Coast Mariners.