Fair play is a b*tch

[Not technical, so you probably want to skip it unless you’re Portuguese or want to see how bad things are around here]

In Portugal, there was a football (soccer, if you’re in US) coach which said something like “fair play is a bitch”. I guess he was right…in fact, I tend to go a little further and say that in Portugal there’s really not much space for character…

This weekend I’ve decided to go and see an under 16 football match between Maritimo and Nacional (two local rivals). Well, the game wasn’t great but what I couldn’t believe is the character of most of those kids!  During the game, most of them kept provoking the  opponents (no sure why, but many Nacional players insisted in this strategy – and they didn’t need it because they were the better team) by kicking the opponents when the referee wasn’t looking or trying to elbow and justify it with ball protection…

The referee…what a f*cking disgrace! I guess that if he wasn’t there, things couldn’t really be worst…really bad, without any kind of consistency regarding fouls. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he simply didn’t exist in the disciplinary level and allowed one of the worst tackles I’ve seen go with a simple fault and no card! That tackle caused a serious injury in a kid – that careless entry broke his leg right there on the field! The worst thing of all is that is was done on *purpose* without any sanctions from the ref of from his coach (I can ensure you that if I was the coach of that team he would go directly to locker room and I’m not sure if he would ever play in my team again!)

What shocked me the most what that the crowd – mainly consisted of parents – kept asking their children to be more tough on the next dispute, instead of explaining that it was just a football match. I’m not saying that one shouldn’t put “everything” in the game; however,there’s a difference between giving 110% and being violent,which is what the game ended up being about…

I’m not sure why I’m still surprised with this kind of behavior. Probably that’s because I do try to forget that I live in a country where:

  • everyone puts a car on a handicap place;
  • if you remove the handicap place and put a barrier for no parking, people will just park in the middle of the street, by the barrier (even when there are parking spots at 50 meters!);
  • you cannot improve your life quality if you don’t know someone important. Just take a look at the new evaluation system introduced by the government where only the best will get promoted (btw, the best should be seen as a synonym of being someone’s family or having some important friends). This is such an interesting topic that I’ll have to return to it in the future 😉
  • the national sport is not football (as everyone might tell you),  but cheating the IRS;
  • there is simply no corruption. Ok, there is corruption, but nobody gets arrested for it (interestingly, most politicians get rich without any explanation);
  • kids don’t learn in the school and things get worst every year (now everyone has to stay at school for 12 years and the worst is that they end those 12 years without knowing anything!);
  • need I say more?

I guess that I thought that things wouldn’t be so bad with kids, but now I understand that there probably is no going place for us…after all, those kids are a mirror of the education of their parents…and I’ve already described most of their parents, didn’t I?

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~ by Luis Abreu on June 1, 2009.

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