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On the last week of August, GOAL STUDIO visited Super Ball 2019 held in Prague to capture the biggest moment of the year for freestyle footballers around the world. The moment we arrived there, we became mesmerized not only by the flamboyant footwork of the freestyle footballers, but also by a raspy and resonant voice coming from a man standing on the edge of the stage.
A bald man with an eye-catching handlebar mustache was in full control of the stage. People swiftly gathered around the stage and the sound of the crowd led by this man added explosive and infrangible enthusiasm throughout the event. Off the stage, he was like a father to every single participant and a very popular one at that. People would call out his name, ask questions, say hello, talk about their career and livelihoods, and what not.
Our purpose of visiting Prague was to meet up with GOAL Ambassadors, but we had to arrange a separate interview session with this scene-stealer to get to know who the hell this person was.
A: I am Lorenzo (Aig Scream) Pincheralli, Aig Scream is my nickname. I came from a basketball freestyle background. I used to be one of the first pioneer sin basketball freestyle 20 years ago. My friends and I formed a team and came up the idea of mixing various sports with freestyle to create a new urban culture, urban sport. We gathered crews from freestyle basketball, football and break dancing. This was back in 2005 and 2006. We would then mix these sports into a new format and this was the start of everything. One thing led to another and when Red Bull started freestyle events in Italy, I took a part and that was a breakthrough for me. Through the freestyle events, I was able to meet Sean, Andrew, Daniel, Tokura, and Lucaso — the head of Super Ball. He told me the event I organized gave him inspirations for the next year’s Super Ball and suggested me that I join the event. So that’s how I came to Super Ball in 2014 for the very first time and it’s been 5 years since I’ve become host of Super Ball. I am also organizing an event called Nextball for under-18s and am hosting other various sporting events as well.
A: I get that question a lot. A lot of people ask me how it is possible to give so much energy to these freestyle footballers and whether I also need to have background in freestyle football. First of all, the slogan of the WFFA is “All You Need Is A Ball”. It doesn’t matter whether the ball is a basketball or football. When we first started, many of the basic tricks were basically the same. We did not care which ball we were using. Back in the days when we were doing shows, I would maybe juggle three balls. Two were basketballs and one was a football, and I would pass one to the next guy for some cross over touches and we didn’t care because I think it was about freestyle approach. Coming from a hip hop background, I am devoted to all my surroundings. That includes music, interaction with the audiences, and hype. However, it is not about whether it is football or basketball.
What I appreciate about freestyle football is events like Super Ball. I wish I also had opportunities to attend such event like Super Ball when I was a serious freestyler. Super Ball is so special in that the community is growing so fast and it is giving them the opportunity for further development. The numbers are big enough to test out new things and new ideas. So I really like that I, as part of Super Ball and a member of the WFFA, can actually prepare and organize something that we would love to have had experienced as freestylers, which will benefit the next generation freestylers. I am so blessed to still be here and help them live the moments as what many of them call the best week of their lives. This is crazy. As a human being, the feeling of being a small but beneficial part of this amazing event is just ineffable.
A: Helping out Lucaso and other guys to develop the community as much as we can. I also want to organize an event myself, such as Nextball, with partners and my family. I really would love to make more for the Italian community because although we are not stuck, I would like for us to take the direction that Sweden or France are taking. And another goal is to grow each category of freestyle football such as Men’s Battle, Women’s Battle, and Lowers into each separate profitable event. As professionals, we have to commercialize the events, working with brands. It will be hard, but I think we can.
A: We are going to use that to test out some of the formulas. The fact that you have to manage this amount of people doesn’t give you much room to add extra value. So I think through the Nextball, we can teach the next generation some values — stage presence, attitude and battle mood. We need to teach them the culture. Another objective is to teach what’s coming next. So we tested a program called Call Me Maybe, where judges call out the names of tricks and whoever that lands this trick would get points. Then the next judge would throw out another random trick and so on. Kids loved it. It was a cool idea for them that they could engage with the judges. And just like this, we came up with the ‘Best of the Rest’ program (team battle) for this year’s Super Ball. We were missing an event which everyone can enjoy and go crazy, but the ‘Best of the Rest’ was right on point. We are definitely going to improve the program next year. At the moment, I am thinking of having captains in each team and have them choose their future teammates. We will see.
A: I think they have a completely unique culture. Not just for sport, but in general. When I visited Tokyo, I was amazed about how organized they were. Everywhere I go, they were clean, detailed, and organized. They pursue perfection. However, I think when people push for perfection too much in an organization, there are always few people who don’t feel quite comfortable conforming to the standards. They want to feel unique and stand out among the millions. I think that’s how Japanese freestyle communities are formed and are growing with such a fierce pace. We are not only talking about football, but basketball and break dancing as well. And BMX flat is massive in Japan. So I think there is a cultural aspect behind this. These guys are reacting to their surroundings with strong discipline. This is why they are so focused. Kazane is thinking about freestyle 25/7. The music is electrifying his body when he is doing tricks. When it comes to battling, the Japanese want it to be a way more unique than others. For the Europeans now it is Erlend, but back in the day it was Sean or Andrew. Everybody is trying to copy and land their own tricks, but the Japanese want to dress up in a stylish way that they love and want to do their own things. They want to reply to you. They want to show you that they got more style than you. That’s why I wish this can be mixed with the others’ freestyle techniques and give a new flavor. Freestyle is basically this. You are looking for something extra, something different from the others. You start by copying, but then you need to start creating.
A: This has come up at the Super Ball committee meeting last year. It is not a secret so we can talk about it and everybody knows already, but we were talking about how people watch the women’s freestyle and men’s freestyle at the same event and say: “Oh, they (women) are good but they (men) are better.” In some sports, comparison doesn’t work because there is just an undeniable gap in the level of performance. For example, when it comes to a marathon, women’s records are far behind than that of men. Don’t get me wrong. They are amazing athletes, but I believe for areas such as flexibility, style, emotion and self-expression. Women have excelled over men throughout history. So, if these can come more and more into their performances and showcases, then we are going to evolve faster.
And I also think that we need to have an event just for women, because we are all freestylers here. And everyone is familiar with each other’s level. But when it comes to the public, if you take Aguska, Laura, Lala or Anastasia, just to take the top 4 and if you put them anywhere in the planet, people would be shocked to see their level of performance. The only problem here is that if you put Fagerli Brothers on one side, it is just pointless because right now, the Fagerli Brothers are way ahead of anyone else. Maybe in the future we will have female freestylers with the same level of talent. But for now, I think having an event just for women can be the key for promoting women’s freestyle. Last year, I hosted the Ladies’ European Tournament while the Champions League Final was going on in Budapest. That was just perfect, because they were the main event. They deserve it. You don’t need to put them into comparison side by side. At the women’s event, everyone can have fun just like the men’s event. It is then that Super Ball can come in as a family meeting where everyone can gather around once a year. This is my personal opinion, but this is already happening in other sports as well and I believe it can also help the freestyle football community.
A: It is a kind of signature. One day I saw a picture of my great-great grandfather, whom I’ve never met. He was born exactly 100 years before and we were born in the same month as well. I was looking at his picture and realized we looked so much alike except the mustache. That’s how I began to grow mine. His was a classic, short and curly mustache. Mine is a bit longer, because as I grew mine, I found people thinking it very funny. And most of all, it was the key to real social networking. Kids are having fun when they see my crazy mustache. People are smiling but I don’t see them as laughing at me, I see them having fun. Just watching people having fun with my mustache, I think to myself that this is cool. This kind of stuff is social networking and I am so blessed that I’ve made many friends with it. Mustaches are the new social networks.