Sunday, June 27, 2010

Soccer and me

I'm not into team sports and while I tried to play soccer and rugby as a teenager, I was terrible at both and never got attached. I have had little more interest for basketball, even less for hockey and none for baseball and football. Now, with that in mind, how do I process the current World Cup, the French Team's defeat and the Americans pretty good showing, so far?

Well, for my own sake, I'll try to explain where I stand and what I understand about the craziness that seems to possess the entire planet, but me. Much as been said, written and thought about the French debacle at the World Soccer Championships and until now, I didn't care to adding my two-cent. Again I'm not into that sport and just watch it from a safe distance that never taps into my emotions. I would simply say that the French team, that wasn't expected to do well anyway, behaved very badly in South Africa.
Domenech their coach showed that he wasn't up to the task and while there are many French who live for soccer, there are still a few like me who don't give a damn about it. At any rate, life in France is going on and everyone is now getting ready to follow the Tour de France and its colorful cyclists. One thing that's important to realize is that Raymond Domenech, the egg-covered coach was put in place by the French soccer federation, a typical old-boys club, that obviously made a terrible choice.

That same coach who relied on all kind of weird tools, including astrology was living in the past and wanted to cling to some old formula in the hope that the 1998 victory and the 2004 second place would somehow return. He wasn't able to re-invent himself and his strategy, let alone adapt. The players were, as it's been said, true prima donna that were intellectually challenged, didn't respect their coach, their federation, their country and couldn't coalesce as a team.
Now, I see this as a regrettable set of circumstances that is just a healthy and temporary setback for the sport in France.

It will constitute a wonderful opportunity to clean the French house of soccer and start anew. This humiliating defeat however has little to do however with drawing a parallel with a general decline of France like some ill-intentioned folks have said. Its folks will survive it and continue to live to eat and do the later very well. Soccer is just a tiny spec in France's joie de vivre. As for America, soccer is beginning to make an impression after years of chipping at it, but the other professional sports aren't playing dead yet, and it will take many more world championships to begin making a dent in America's psyche...

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