Soccer is the world's game, played by millions, watched by billions, and tainted by a select few who corrupt the game through money laundering or diving around after a phantom foul. I find myself defending the game frequently from friends who think it's boring, slow, and that the players are prima donnas.
However, an incident on Wednesday has left me sick of the game in some ways, and it's all because of a ballboy.
In an act of desperation to make up a 2-goal deficit at rival Swansea, Eden Hazard ran to get a ball for a corner kick. The ballboy, whose job is simply to supply the soccer ball to the players, decided to fall on the ball and waste time to help out the home team. The tactic of milking the clock is as old as time itself. It happens in sports all the time. North Carolina has their 4-corner offense, football teams run the ball, and now ballboys take it in their own hands to waste time too.
Hazard, a 22 year-old Belgian stud soccer player, was trying to get the ball out from under the 17 year-old Charlie Morgan. Morgan was smothering the ball, and Hazard, like a big brother, kicked the ball out from under him. The kick earned Hazard a red card and a world of trouble. For Morgan, he became an instant sensation. The fun wasn't over for the 17-year-old though, who then decided to play up the moment by rolling around on the ground, even taking a moment to sit up, grasp his ribs, and peer at the ref as if he was a player looking for the offender to be penalized. Sadly, it worked (and earned him thousands of new Twitter followers, this generation's currency).
The firestorm that followed was ridiculous. I am falling on the player's side in this argument. I think Hazard was in the right to do what he did to get the ball back. The ballboy was not doing his job, and apparently he had tweeted his plan before the game started.
The problem with his entire episode is that it was created by the sport itself. The boy, dressed in all Swansea gear, looking as if he was a player, decided to mimic everything he's ever seen in the game. The time wasting, feigning injury, writhing around in agony, looking to the ref to give a card, wincing and walking off with other ballboys surrounding him, and finally, in true soccer player style, returning to his position minutes later (probably after some magic spray was applied to his ribs). It was textbook stuff really. And the ref fell for it, like they often do. Hook, line, and sinker.
Hazard was forced to apologize for his behavior. Hopefully Charlie Morgan will be forced to apologize for his act in this also. And finally, maybe this will make people realize that diving is a problem both on and off the soccer field these days, and it needs to be fixed. Maybe someday we'll thank Charlie Morgan for his diving. Maybe.
Fan Hub Action
Jeanne-Marie Jansen Lowell May 23rd
Greatest relief pitcher EVER! Someday we can all tell our grandchildren we got to see him pitch. A true legend!
Charlie Lobosco May 23rd
Ask Craig; I’ll say it again; not the best relief pitcher ever; the best MLB player ever. Yes, that includes everyone.
Jim Lowell May 23rd
Great tribute to a great player, a great Yankee, and a great man.Thank you!
Frank Lowell May 23rd
Great job, Ryan! As a life-long Yankee hater since the 1950’s in the closing days of the Brooklyn Dodgers, I can only sit back and…
Tiffany Riddle May 23rd
Love the article, and I completely agree!
Michael T Carr May 16th
Another good article, Craig Lowell.
Charlie Lobosco May 1st
This is a very compelling story because Mr. Collins is a very passionate, tough, intelligent, athelete taking on some additional responsibliity to help others as…
Scott Cohen May 1st
Charlie.. very well said.. he does have guts
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