Rub Some Dirt On It

I couldn't help watching a little soccer today when I saw that, after upsetting Spain, the American men's team was leading against Brazil 2-0 near halftime. One play reminded me of a thought I had a while back, when I had earned a reputation as the guy who talked about "truth" all the time. People always wanted me to define the term (I think they suspected I wanted them to talk and dress and act like me, that I wanted to remake the world in my image... right?). Fake injuries in soccer seem to be notoriously perfect examples of the kind of untruth I was sometimes frustrated by. To be sure, social and cultural oppression and repression are real phenomena, but I sometimes wonder whether certain injuries might be exaggerated. Looky here:

In this metaphor, "truth" is nothing more than not falling down and grabbing your knee when only a minor foul--or no foul at all--has been committed. Obviously, soccer players take the occasional "dive" because there is a payoff: if they can fool the referee, their team may be at an advantage. I wonder if there are enough incentives in American society in place to motivate the occasional "fake fall?" Is it conceivable that this kind of thing happens in soccer, but never in life? I know for sure that the culture of "fake falling" is the single feature of soccer that keeps me from becoming a fan, and I suspect that other Americans share my repulsion.

As my high school baseball coach used to say every time we perceived an injustice or injury--either physical or mental or emotional--"rub some dirt on it and get back in there."


Wishydig said...

but don't you think if the basketball court was bigger, the dives that larry bird took would have to be bigger too? it's only because the refs were so close to him that he could be relatively subtle about his falls. all athletes do this.

Casey said...

I knew either you or Wrangler would use basketball as a counterpoint -- okay, it's sort of true. But it seems more pervasive in soccer culture.

But: that serves my point: if all athletes do it... do all people? How can we tell when we're being a "fooled ref?"--calling fouls when none exist?

Wishydig said...

but then are we refs of anything really? or are we just other people trying to understand that whether or not the foul is 'real' the fall is trying to say something. and it's worth it to listen.

Casey said...

Hm. That's what I'm asking, I guess... is it ever time to stop listening?

Maybe not. Probably not, I guess. But in sports-culture, that kind of listening is certainly limited, if not frowned upon.