Barcelona, Football, Argentina & Cheating: Notes from World's Dirtiest Sport

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Barcelona, Football, Argentina & Cheating: Notes from World's Dirtiest Sport

I just read an article entitled, “Andres Iniesta and Xavi Ooze Class as Barcelona Thumps Manchester United” and as I am have such an amazing lack of class and don't understand a thing about football I thought I'd do a hatchet job on the game so many of you love.

Anytime the word “class” is utilised in describing the world’s most popular sport, I feel I must chime in. I must admit I am not what one would call a die-hard football fan; however, last night, solely out of morbid curiosity, I decided to tune in to the Champions League Final held in Rome. Now you'll soon realise from this article that I class is something I have in spades. I am so god-damned classy that it hurts.

What a royal waste of time. I missed the reruns of I dream of Jeannie (I love to watch Larry Hagman as a young man)

Before I commence ripping into the world’s beloved “soccer,” let me give you a little background on who I am and what I represent. 

I am a lifelong ice hockey player and fan who has recently moved from a small town in northern New York State, with four ice hockey rinks within three kilometers of one another, to a small city in central Italy with my work.  A place where people eat, drink and sleep football.  

One can say I am as old school as they come. I believe in honour amongst athletes and integrity in sports, whether it’s curling, wrestling, cow tipping, soccer or ice hockey; in my book, cheating—any unsportsmanlike play—is a disgrace. I also believe in taking one element of a game and using it to represent my prejudices towards the entire sport.

That is one of the primary reason I ordinarily refrain from following soccer in any capacity whatsoever. Players cheat and I simply do not like it and let's face it, this never happens in any other sport!    

Last night I asked my wife what she thought about our watching the Champions league Final.  “It might be fun.” I said. “The NHL semifinals aren’t on till 1:30.”  She looked at me as if I had gone stark raving crazy. 

“Why would you want to do that?” she asked me, smirking sarcastically. “They’re worse than school girls.” 

“Dunno,” I responded, before flipping the channel onto 201 to sit down for 40 minutes of misery. “Curious I guess.” 

The game started off cleanly enough with Manchester United controlling the bulk of the play over the first 10 minutes, out-shooting their adversaries by a 5-0 margin; 'til, I must concede, a highly skilled Eto'o goal let the wind out of their sails and the pleasure from the game.   

When one scores in ice hockey, players celebrate with dignity. Arms are raised, fists pumped and players embrace.  If a player showboats he’s shunned, often times reprimanded by his teammates and coaching staff. 

On occasion, he is checked into oblivion by an opposing player. Ordinarily, it does not come to that as most hockey players know better. 

When soccer players do they are exalted, even deified. 

Samuel Eto'o tapping his arm as if preparing a vein for intravenous drug use is hardly what one can call a celebration. In my book it is amateurish showboating; nothing more nothing less. 

So is sucking your thumb, as Francesco Totti does, extending your arms and flying around like a little airplane, and sliding on your knees across the pitch like a campagnolo praying to the “santo locale.”    

I could go on forever about soccer celebrations; however, today’s rant is focused on last night Champions League final. 

Then there was the diving and feigning of injuries, the disgraceful show of sportsmanship exhibited throughout the entire match. 

The diminutive Lionel Messi might be the world’s best soccer player; however, he needs to learn a thing or two about staying on his feet when navigating through traffic. The guy flops and dives more skilfully than Greg Luganis! Puyol and Xavi are just as efficient.   

Barcelona in general were a disgrace. 

Granted I expected a bit of unsportsmanlike play. It’s football after all. I understand that soccer players employ every trick in the book to draw penalties and gain any advantage possible over their opposition, but I never knew just how much 'til last night.

Sure, I heard about the cheat Maradona and the Hand of God goal against the Brits. But one can’t judge an entire sport on one man, especially when the man is well, Diego Maradona. 

I also watched Marco Materazzi insult a fellow player’s family during a World Cup Championship Match, but after living in Italy, that didn’t surprise me and I still kept a relatively open mind.  

But it took last night’s game to convince me that spending a night in front of the television watching the “worlds most beautiful game” is a night wasted. 

But hey, I'm not a bitter twisted hack who just likes to complain about sports I have no interest in at all. I've just got way too much time on my hands.

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