Soccer….Family Style

Luis Suárez is Wrecking My Marriage

Luis Suárez is causing trouble in my marriage. I realize there are many women who watch soccer based on which teams have the hottest players. I’m not one of those women. It’s not that I can’t appreciate a good hottie, but it’s not really a motivating factor in my passion for soccer.

However, there is a player that has finally come between my husband and I, and it is Mr. Suárez. You may know him better as that cheater from Uruguay  that handled the ball on the goal line, denying the goal by Ghana in the 90th minute.

Richard Whittall wrote an article that FIFA was considering extending the one game suspension Suárez received for his ejection to a tournament suspension. This article provoked quite the argument at our house, because in a house with 2 referees, that’s bound to happen eventually.

My position on referees has been long established: you have to suck up who you get, but my position on cheaters was battled out today. I think it’s that now I’m not just a referee, I’m a mom too, and cheaters really, really suck. I can’t stand them. The diving, the feigning injury, even the German goalkeeper pretending that the ball wasn’t in the net when he knew it was against England…all unacceptable. But the handball on the goal line is cheating at it’s worst form. Just ask any American that’s been a fan since before 2002, it is an awful way to leave a World Cup.

My husband’s position is that the referee made the right call (red card and PK in favor of Ghana) and that it’s Ghana’s problem that they didn’t capitalize on the penalty kick. And yes, they should have. But it doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s cheating that affected the outcome of the game. I’m happy that at least in this case, the referee got the call right, but don’t you feel cheated that Ghana’s going home? I know most of South Africa does. There’s no fairness in the result of that game.

So frankly, I don’t care that justice was served in the eyes of FIFA. It’s a cheap way to go home, and I’d be happier if Luis Suárez was going home on the same plane as Ghana (now THERE’S some justice!) Since that won’t happen, I’ll pray to the gods of soccer justice, the same gods that graced Landon Donovan in extra time for the US, sending us through in spite of being dealt some lame referee luck. Netherlands: Send Uruguay home on July 6! Maybe then I’ll feel like speaking to my husband again.

Zulu falls under the Bantu family of languages and is one of eleven
official languages of South Africa. Zulu is the language of the Zulu people and is spoken by
approximately ten million people. About 24% of the South African
population speaks Zulu and over 50% of the population understands Zulu,
making it the most common language of South Africa.

Referee Controversy
June 10, 2010, 5:49 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

When I heard about the baseball refereeing controversy last week (a referee made a questionable call and cost someone a perfect game) it reminded me of the scope of referee impact. Disclaimer: I’ve been a soccer referee since 1993, climbing as high as State Referee and NISOA college refereeing, and I’m married to a former US Soccer National Referee. So we are a pro referee household. My default position is that you have to play the game, with the referees included. When the US was eliminated by Germany in 2002 and there was a questionable handball, as a fan, I was upset, but realistically, you have to play through all those things to win.

In 1998, my husband and I were staying in a small French town visiting a friend when the American referee, Esse Baharmast, did his game, Brazil vs. Norway. My friend arranged for us to watch the game at her friend’s house, where they had cable.  We hardly spoke any French, but we were able to communicate that we were interested in the game because the referee was American.

We enjoyed watching the game with them until Esse called a late in the game penalty against Brazil, that looked from all angles highly questionable. At the time, Doug and I were both refereeing at high levels and both seeking advancement, so Esse Baharmest was a hero to us. I’d met him at youth tournaments and liked him. I couldn’t believe he would blow such a big call, but all televised camera angles looked awful.

Not only that, but that penalty was scored, and that changed the group outcome from Morocco advancing to the next game to them being eliminated. Now here’s where it’s important to really be smart about soccer while at the World Cup. Why would we have reason to be concerned sitting in a small town French living room watching the outcome of Brazil vs. Norway, impacting Morocco’s advancement? Because the Moroccan coach is French, and you better believe the French immediately put it together that our referee had just eliminated their coach. It was several extraordinarily uncomfortable moments before we could leave at the end of the game.

So lesson #1, pay attention to who’s on what team and who it’s impacting, so at least you’re aware as you wander into hostile territory. Lesson #2 is you have to play with the referees you’re dealt, and generally, they do a highly professional game. The next day, a smaller news organization came out with a previously unseen camera angle that showed that Esse had made the correct call. It was too late to keep him in the tournament and too late to alieviate the international tensions where we watched the game, but in the end, he did get it right.

Lesson #2: You have to play with the referees you’re dealt. It sometimes sucks, but if you can’t win with the referee you draw, that it may be a cheap loss, but it counts just the same as a fair loss.

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