The Village View

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Why I'm rooting for the French

(I'm catching up on my blog reading and the first feed on my Feeddemon list is Matt Asay's AC/OS. Thus, another post piggybacking off his blog).

I'm a huge soccer fan and as such enjoy seeing games of skill in which talented players make superb passes, crosses and shots as well as defend well against these. I HATE watching players flop.

But flopping in soccer is a problem. Flopping is essentially a combination of acting, lying, begging, and cheating, and these four behaviors make for an unappealing mix.

The team that empitomizes this for me is the Italian squad. You touch them and they go down grabbing their shin; either one will do, it doesn't matter which one you may actually have touched. It boils my blood to watch them play (in addition to the fact that they got a lot of questionable calls in their favor: yellow against Pope, red against Mastroeni, penalty against Australia in the 93rd minute). My European and Latin American friends tell me "that's just their style, that's the way the Italians play.... lot's of show." Well, I guess I'm just too American as Mark Eggers explains in an excerpt from his book:

The second and greatest, by far, obstacle to the popularity of the World Cup, and of professional soccer in general, is the element of flopping...There are few examples of American sports where flopping is part of the game, much less accepted as such...
American sports are, for better or worse, built upon transparency, or the appearance of transparency, and on the grind-it-out work ethic.

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