Tuesday, July 11, 2006


While I find World Cup Soccer interesting, almost from a geopolitical view, I also find it a rather strange sport. This letter to the editor of the WSJ, sums it up perfectly:

Soccer: Diving, Swooning and Writhing on the
Quentin Letts's July 6 editorial-page commentary "Losers Weepers" singles out only one aspect of the theater of the absurd that professional soccer has become. The agonized writhing that accompanies even the mildest adversarial contact has become an art form matched only by the diving and swooning engaged in by many of these athletes when there is often no contact at all. One wonders how much actual training time is allotted to the rehearsal of these tactics and whether teams hire theatrical assistants to coach players in the use of facial expressions and body language to impress the referee.

The referees themselves are clearly impressionable, often calling fouls and distributing cards of various hues based on the appeals of players with the best acting skills. They are often seen grinning and schmoozing with old friends, while at other times scolding and appearing to be personally offended by a poorly executed tackle. They are an integral part of the company of players and seem to enjoy the attention of the audience every bit as much as the competitors.

In soccer, stoicism is out. If they can't win, the fans expect a display of abject humility, especially after shelling out as much as they do to support the Beckham lifestyle, and Mr. Beckham is happy to oblige.