Sunday, June 16, 2024

Let us not dwell on our failures


As my fevered interest in the game of soccer slowly wanes over these years I am finding a small resurgence of interest taking place right now as the biggest international tournaments outside of the World Cup all happen at once. This weekend the Euros got underway in Germany to establish the best European team, and any day now the Copa America will get going to put forth the best team in the Americas.

In a month we'll know all.

It is a lot of soccer, but I might be up for a good bit of it. Perhaps being a little less invested in the winners I can enjoy some of these games more widely. There are many talented young players to watch, stories to chart, and there is plenty to root for. At this point I despise some things about soccer, I love some things about soccer, but also I just find some things about soccer strangely interesting.

How about I tell you one of these last ones now?

I saw this today in a game I much enjoyed wherein a favorite team of mine, Spain, thoroughly beat Croatia in one of the first games of the Euros. This exchange is something I have seen many times in soccer games. It goes something like this:

A player kicks a through ball way downfield to a forward, putting him in a great position for a shot or a pass to an open teammate. The player receiving the ball then proceeds to do something absolutely terrible. I think today he kicked it like thirty feet over the goal. Whatever it was it was a mess. And at the conclusion of all this, the player who completely screwed it up turned way back towards the passer and gave him the thumbs up.

It seems like there would be an apology in there for messing everything tragically up, but it's not like that. It's not like that at all. The thumbs up doesn't have even the slightest feel of apology.

The thumbs up seems to be saying "Good job there. Keep it up. Sure, we didn't score, but don't worry, it wasn't anyone's fault so keep giving me all your passes. You have done the right thing."

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