For a short period of time every four years, I trade in my football for some fútbol and become a makeshift soccer fan. Why? Because it’s the World Cup, of course! A world-wide spectacle! And while I don’t understand what the hell is going on half the time, it’s still fun to scream “GOOOAAALLL!” with my fellow American soccer “fans” who are usually just as clueless as I am. Plus, you know you’re going to have a good time whenever a “USA” chant breaks out.
Overall, I enjoy what the World Cup has to offer. It’s fun, crazy, loud, exciting, and dramatic – everything a sports fan salivates over. However, there is one thing about the World Cup – and soccer in general – that makes me seeth every time I see it.
Diving – or flopping – is when a player aggressively exaggerates an injury in order to manipulate the referee into calling fouls. They do this so their team can receive scoring opportunities through free kicks and penalty kicks or so the opposing team receives yellow or red cards.
I understand that diving is a part of the game, its strategy, and probably isn’t going to change. And the idea of the flop doesn’t bother me so much; however, the “aggressive exaggeration” part is what gets me.
Seeing players flail into the air as if they just stepped on a land mine and convulse on the ground like a dying bug, only to stand up and sprint down the field ten seconds later doesn’t do anything for my interest in the game. It makes me want to bring them a Flintstones Band-Aid for their boo-boo, but that’s about it.
I know that others can easily look past diving and flopping, but it will always be an issue I have with soccer. After watching athletes like Brett Favre play 321 consecutive games through broken bones and torn ligaments and seeing Tony Romo finish and win a game with a herniated disk in his back, it’s tough for me to just accept the constant feigning of injuries without some frustration.
Despite the annoyance, I will continue to watch and enjoy the World Cup. Mainly to root on our home team – one that seems to show more integrity than most of the other teams in the field, historically being one of the least flop-heavy countries in the World Cup. Plus, Dempsey toughing-out that broken nose was pretty awesome and probably deserves another couple USA chants…