05 December 2011

My dog loves soccer!

A traditional 32-panel soccer ball (association football) has 20 regular hexagonal faces and 12 regular pentagonal faces.  Because the faces are stitched together and the surface must hold a latex bladder that contains air above atmospheric pressure, the 32 geometrical faces are not flat.  They are curved outward a little, which is why a soccer ball is not the same thing as a truncated icosahedron, which is one of the 13 Archimedean solids loved by mathematicians and a few physicists (like me!).

The stitched faces that curve outward also serve another purpose, one completely new to me until just a few days ago.  The faces allow just enough gripping space for a dog to hold.  Click here for a YouTube video of my dog playing soccer.  At the very beginning of the video, you'll see my dog carrying the ball in her teeth.  I never thought a dog that size could carry a soccer ball!  The spacing of the pentagons and hexagons is just enough to allow my dog to sink her teeth into the gaps and hold the ball.

Later in the video, you will see my dog pushing the ball along with her nose.  My older daughter is trying to coax our dog into playing.  I've been happy that my daughters show an interest in learning soccer.  Now I know that my dog has an itch for the beautiful game as well!

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