Greg Baum Neeeds A New Edtior

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Greg Baum wrote a column for The Age summarizing the World Cup (and international soccer in general) that perfectly sums up my feeling about the sport. F'rinstance:

Soccer is a game in which fine lines quickly, sometimes instantaneously, widen into gulfs. If Zidane's early penalty kick had bounced back, there might not have been a shootout. If David Trezeguet's had bounced in, they might be taking penalties still.

Players, knowing this, work to leverage the least opportunity, the chink that might suddenly become a chasm, which makes for the blatant cheating that is the game's most infamous feature. The most negligible contact, or even none at all, will cause a player to sprawl as if riddled by shotgun pellets, variously to win a penalty, a free kick or a pause in play.

As the tournament progressed, it even began to jar on players, who became increasingly loath to kick the ball out of play, as honour demanded. The nadir was the Portugal/Netherlands round-of-16 encounter, in which there can barely have been 15 minutes of play in the second half. (Notably, the player who interposes himself to block another's pile-driven shot rarely collapses, though the pain sometimes must be real and great. [emphasis added])
It's implicit in Baum's parenthetical reference, but I'll make it explicit: they don't collapse because they don't want to take themselves out of the play WHEN THERE'S NO CHANCE THEY'LL GET A CALL!

There is one thing that bothered me, and it isn't even Baum's fault, really. OK, it is, but it's clear that the only editing done on the column was the use of a spell-checker:

The point is that the way soccer is structured, the referee can have a profound, even decisive, influence just by doing his job (or not doing it: refer the Italian league scandal). Players and managers know this and try to exploit it. Having sewn the breeze, they are reaping the whirlwind, and it is ingenuous of any to be affronted by it. [emphasis added]
I'm pretty sure he meant sown and disingenuous.

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This page contains a single entry by Chris published on July 10, 2006 12:18 PM.

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