Thursday, May 18, 2006

The New Actor's Studio

If you're looking for examples of overacting, professional soccer is the place to find it. Last night I happened upon the Champion's Leauge Cup, the final game of the championship of European soccer clubs, pitting Barcelona against Arsenal. For soccer fans, it's a big deal.

The overacting comes primarily in the form of players feigning injury in order to stop the game to get a little rest (no timeouts in soccer), or to fool an official into calling a penalty on another player. This last ruse actually worked in last night's game, and resulted in the first goal for Arsenal. An official called a foul, which led to a free kick, which led to the goal. But a review of the play shows the Barcelona player made no contact.

At various other times throughout the game, players went down, thrashed on the ground, clutched at their knees or ankles or backs -- and then two minutes later were up and down the pitch as if nothing had happened. One player was barely touched by another, but ended up barrel-rolling across the ground five or six times, as if he'd been thrown from a speeding car.

To those in charge of soccer -- fix this. It's embarrasing, and degrading to the game.

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