Belt it like Beckham
An official Uefa Champions League football struck sweetly by yours truly. Well, when I say sweetly, I actually mean shanked slightly by a pair of loose-fitting Adidas from a standing foot recently diagnosed with Achilles tendonosis.
The connection felt sweet enough to me, but it wouldn't trouble the speed guns of Messi, Ronaldo and Rooney. Those boys generate speeds of 120 kph while going through the motions.
David Beckham's right boot, better known for deliciously bending a ball than for spanking the spots off it, is credited with 150 kph (for Man Utd against Chelsea in 1997). But even he has to bow to David Hirst (of all people), who weighed in with a frankly ludicrous 114 mph/183 kph when he crashed the ball against Arsenal's bar, while playing for Sheffield Wednesday in 1996.
How do I know all this?
In one part, courtesy of 10 minutes of hasty research online (Becks, Ronaldo etc); in the other, thanks to a scientific study of my own kicking action via Imagination's exciting new technology partnership with Hawk-Eye, which is being deployed by Champions League sponsors Ford in Munich from 16-19 May.
Hawk-Eye, which uses complex computer systems to track the precise movement of balls, is no stranger to sporting innovation.
It has brought tennis into the 21st century (the only downside being the elimination of McEnroe-style "you cannot be serious" line disputes - click the link; it's timeless gold); it has helped to even out lbw decisions in cricket; and it is currently working hard to provide desperately-needed goal-line technology to football.
And now Hawk-Eye, Imagination and Ford's B-MAX are placing this sport-defining technology in the grubby mits of Sunday league hackers and heroes. All you need to do is to pitch up at the at the Champions League festival at the Olympiapark, pose for a couple of photos, crank up your preferred kicking leg and let rip.
"The creative and technical talents of the combined teams will lead to some remarkable results," says Steve Carter, managing director at Hawk-Eye Innovations of the alliance with Imagination and Ford.
He's right, plus lots of happy, sharable memories because, as experiences go, this one is simple, competitive crowd-pleasing fun. And what will follow in Munich, where there is a prize of Champions League tickets at stake, is sure to be considerably more "remarkable" than what came off my right foot on a press day at Sony HQ in Basingstoke.
Excited and possibly unnerved by that Champions League music, which blared out to welcome me, I skewed my first effort horribly wide, nailed (relative term) my second and scooped the third. But you don't have to take my word for it. Let the video be the judge...
And the handy personalised Panini-style card I got to take away...
It says "Alex Trickett"; "two goals out of three"; "76 kph" - that's just shy of the speed limit in India and twice as fast as Usain Bolt can run.
And for a moment, I feel so proud. Until I remember Messi, Ronaldo and Beckham. And David Hirst of all people.
Damn you Hirst, just when I was feeling special...