Tuesday, June 20, 2006

buncha whiners

As previously mentioned, I played soccer regularly for about 20 yrs, and sporadically ever since. I love the sport. But just let me say this: soccer players are the biggest bunch of whinging, whining, sniveling, whimpering pansyasses ever.
It's a standard part of the sport that after being fouled or crashing into someone, you roll on the ground holding your leg (or occasionally, your head). This is so the referee knows it is right to give your team a free kick.
It's also (unfortunately) common procedure to take a dive if an opposing player bumps you off the ball. The most dramatic displays take place within the 18-yd box, since successfully selling a trip there means your team gets a penalty kick (ie, an almost-sure goal).
If your opponent scores on anything but a 100% clear-cut goal, the goalkeeper and various defenseman make dramatic gestures to the referee with their hands in the air, to indicate that the scorer was clearly offside (or charged the goalie, or used his hands, or or or).

I think it's embarrassing. The sport requires a lot of strength and toughness to play it right -- there's no need for all the theatrics that serve only to make soccer players look like total crybabies.

That is all at this time.


At Tue Jun 20, 06:02:00 PM PDT, Anonymous si said...

maybe if soccer players played a "real sport", they wouldn't be such crybabies... ;-) (just kidding -- like hockey, i don't quite get *it* [obviously].)

At Tue Jun 20, 10:23:00 PM PDT, Blogger Lisa said...

Our favorite part of soccer is the rolling on the ground holding you knee/head/arm/etc....and then popping back up and running off as soon as the game starts again.

You obviously weren't *that* hurt!

At Wed Jun 21, 05:50:00 AM PDT, Blogger Alan said...

I think the most dramatic displays are when the hooligans rampage the stadium.

At Wed Jun 21, 02:33:00 PM PDT, Blogger unca said...

My favorite part is during what I think is called a "direct free kick" where the opposition players line up with their hands over their private parts (kind of like Michael Jackson during one of his dance routines). I'm sorry, but whenever I see this a certain word comes to mind -- and I'm afraid that word is "sissybritches." Yes, I know that the ball is being kicked with jewel crushing power and they'd be stupid not to "cover up" but really, how lame does this look?

At Wed Jun 21, 04:03:00 PM PDT, Blogger bryan torre said...

yeah, you only have to catch the ball in the nuts once -- after that, you'll take any sissybritches pose you can to avoid it...

At Wed Jun 21, 04:09:00 PM PDT, Blogger blogball said...

Bryan, I’m glad you brought this up. This is one thing that always turned me off about soccer. The sad part is that it’s expected of them to do this because it has become part of the game. Not a very good example to set for the young kids watching the game.

Maybe the USA world cup team should announce that they will take the high road and not stoop to this level. Then they will have an excuse when they go down in the first round of competition.
I think the only thing that might come close to these types of theatrics is in basketball when someone is trying to draw a charging fowl or maybe in football when the punter is trying to draw an unnecessary roughness call.

Hey Unca, concerning your comment did you ever wonder why these guys just don’t turn around and have their butts face the kicker? Wouldn’t this be just as effective and plus they wouldn’t look like "sissybritches." (They would just be turning the other cheek).
I think the only soccer team that uses this technique are the Greeks.

At Thu Jun 22, 10:13:00 AM PDT, Blogger unca said...

Just ran across this column. He calls it the "flop-'n-bawl."

Why, despite everything, America will never embrace soccer.
by Jonathan V. Last
06/22/2006 12:00:00 AM

THERE'S GOOD NEWS and bad news on the World Cup front. The bad news is that, despite the instructions your media overlords have given you, no one in America is watching the great quadrennial soccer carnival. Sure, if you read only the headlines ("World Cup Ratings Soar"; "World Cup Scoring with American Viewers"), you might think America has finally submitted and embraced soccer.

But the numbers don't lie. The first Sunday network World Cup broadcast scored a 2.7 rating. Each rating point represents just less than 1 million households. To put that in perspective, the women's French Open final did a 1.9 on a Saturday morning; the national spelling bee pulled a 5.9. The game between Team USA and the Czech Republic had a rating of 2.4.

The good news is that it will take a near miracle for the U.S. squad to advance to the next round. That's good because, truth be told, you and I don't care and the rest of the world cares very, very much. An American loss in the World Cup is basically a requirement for international stability. Look how upset everyone got when we toppled a murderous dictator in Iraq. What would happen if America--not just America, but George Bush's America!--won the World Cup? Panic? Riots? The upheaval of civilizations? It wouldn't surprise me if Bush's "pep talk" with Bruce Arena before the Czech game was really a veiled threat: "Hey, coach, good luck out there. If you win, the vice president wants to take you quail hunting."

What would be particularly galling to the international community is that if we won the Cup, Americans would care about as much as they do when we win gold medals in the men's biathlon or women's downhill at the Olympics.

Why don't we like soccer? We all play it when we're young. According to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, more than 17 million Americans played soccer in 2006, putting it just behind basketball and football in team sports popularity. And in those other sports, you don't even get orange slices at halftime.

And watching soccer is kind of fun. Not real fun, like watching the Eagles, or professional basketball, or the Sixers. But fun in the exotic sense, like Olympic curling. After all, in this country, we're suckers for any sort of competition. Put the Little League World Series on TV, and we'll watch it. Just the other day, I saw competitive dominoes on one of the ESPN networks. Soccer is way better than dominoes.

But there is one obstacle to soccer acceptance that seems insurmountable: the flop-'n'-bawl.

Turn on a World Cup game, and within 15 minutes you'll see a grown man fall to the ground, clutch his leg and writhe in agony after being tapped on the shoulder by an opposing player. Soccer players do this routinely in an attempt to get the referees to call foul. If the ref doesn't immediately bite, the player gets up and moves along.

Making a show of your physical vulnerability runs counter to every impulse in American sports. And pretending to be hurt simply compounds the outrage. Basketball has floppers, but the players who do it--like Bill Laimbeer, whose flopping skills helped the Detroit Pistons win two NBA championships--are widely vilified and, in any case, they're pretending to be fouled; they never pretend to be injured. When baseball players are hit by a pitch, the code of conduct dictates that they can walk it off, if they must, but by no means may they rub the point of impact. And pretending you're hurt? There's not even a rule against that--every red-blooded American baseball cheater knows nobody would ever do that.

In football, players make demonstrations of their toughness, jumping up after the most vicious hits. In 2002, Donovan McNabb suffered a broken ankle during a game against Arizona. He barely flinched. And he played the rest of the game, too.

For Americans, a sport in which pretending you're injured is a good thing doesn't make sense. Our greatest sports moments come from athletes who are really hurt, but hide their pain: Willis Reed playing Game 7 of the 1970 NBA finals with a torn leg muscle; Curt Schilling's bloody sock in the 2004 ALCS and World Series; Kerri Strug sticking the gold-medal vault with ruptured ligaments in her ankle during the 1996 Olympic Games; Michael Jordan's 38 points in Game 5 of the 1997 NBA finals, when he was so sick he could barely stand upright.

That's the American ideal. You play tough, you gain no advantage from being down, and you never, ever let the other guy see that you're hurt.

Unless the international soccer culture changes, we aren't going to embrace the game. And one of these days, an American side will win a World Cup anyway. Let's hope, for the sake of the Bush doctrine, that that day is a long way off.

Jonathan V. Last is online editor of The Weekly Standard and a weekly op-ed contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer. This essay originally appeared in the June 18, 2006 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

© Copyright 2006, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.


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