bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: There’s no biting in soccer! Oh wait…there is?

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OK, I have watched a bit of the World Cup. Not much, but I have watched the U.S. matches. Actually, I shouldn’t even say I watched…I actually was listening to the match against Germany in my car, and found it engrossing enough that when I got out of my car to go run, I actually found an internet radio station that was broadcasting the game and listened to it during my run. I am not totally anti-soccer, even if it sometimes seems like it. However, there are some bizarre things about this sport and the behavior of the athletes who play it, and that was very much on display during the match between Uruguay and Italy on Tuesday. Luis Suarez, a striker for Uruguay, actually bit Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder during the match. You did not misread that.

How are you supposed to react when you see one player bite another one in the middle of play? I watched my son, who is three years old, play soccer for two months this spring and never did one of those toddlers bite another one. Yet here was a grown man taking a chomp out of another grown man as if he had been put there for that purpose. Now sure, Mike Tyson famously bit off part of Evander Holyfield’s ear during a boxing match a number of years back, so you can’t say Suarez’ behavior was unprecedented, but come on, that was boxing. The whole point of that sport is to hurt the opponent, and although biting is certainly against the rules and outside the realm of anything reasonable, was anyone truly shocked that someone like Mike Tyson might do something like that? Soccer, although there is plenty of contact in the sport, is not that type of game. The point is to score goals, at least in theory (it seems very few are actually scored), not to bloody one’s opponent.

There is plenty I find absurd about this game, and the ridiculous and constant flopping is at the top of the list. Never have I seen more guys drop the the ground as if hit on the head with a hammer only to be back in the match a few minutes later than I have seen watching these games. Who knows, maybe a bit more biting would be a good thing rather than a negative. After all, if guys were regularly falling to the ground because someone had just taken a bite out of them, at least it wouldn’t look so pathetic and ridiculous. They could make another sequel to the Twilight movies where the vampires fielded a team in the World Cup.

What’s even more amazing is that this is not the first time Suarez has bitten someone during a match. He has been suspended twice in his career for biting other players. How is this guy allowed out there at all? After this newest incident, FIFA suspended him for 4 months, but it sounds to me like maybe a lifetime ban is in order. I am curious as to how many times he needs to bite people before that happens…I guess THREE TIMES is not enough. FIFA makes the NCAA look like it has a clue.

Bad sports, continued:

2) Five-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams was bounced out of the tournament in the third round on Saturday. She has made early exits in four of the last 5 Grand Slam events.

3) Brad Keselowski had to get four stitches in his hand when he was cut by a broken bottle during a celebration after he won the NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Kentucky on Saturday night.

4) Nigel Bethel II, a football player at Texas Tech, was kicked off the team and out of the school after he punched a member of the school’s women’s basketball team in the face during a pickup hoops game on Saturday.

5) Philip Lutzenkirchen, who played on Auburn’s national championship team four years ago, died in a car accident on Sunday in Georgia. He was 23 years old.

Good sports:

1) Pittsburgh Penuins forward Sidney Crosby won his second league MVP award last week. He won his first back in 2007.

2) Despite the fact that his last three seasons look very little like the amazing four seasons that preceded them, Tim Lincecum, a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, managed to throw his second no-hitter in the last twelve months on Wednesday. Both no-nos have come against the San Diego Padres.

3) Alysia Montano, a five-time national champion in track, did not win the 800 meters at the U.S. track and field championships in Sacramento on Thursday. In fact, she came in last with a time that was 35 seconds slower than her best. Oh, by the way…she was 34 weeks pregnant at the time. Not bad.

4) Los Angeles Angels phenom Mike Trout continues to amaze. This time, he hit a home run that traveled 489 feet in Kansas City on Friday. This was the longest home run for a player in the American League since the distances began being officially tracked last decade.

5) The Atlanta Braves have a minor league affiliate in Lynchburg, Virginia, and that team must have some pretty good pitchers, as four of them combined to throw two consecutive no-hitters on Thursday and Friday. In each game, the starter went seven innings and then a reliever threw the final two.

Bad sports, good sports appears early each week

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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