More from Morris

Whaa, whaa, whaa, Ronaldo cries again

- September 4th, 2012

Today it’s Cristiano Ronaldo and his sadness.

Wednesday it’s integrity in sports and politics.

First Ronaldo.

One of the world’s most talented soccer players and accomplished whiners in the world was obviously not getting enough attention recently so he decided to change that.

In a game in which he scored two goals he choose not to celebrate the goals and when the inevitable questions were asked after the game, he simply said he was “sad.”

He didn’t say why he was sad, he simply reverted to his 10-year-old childish personality and said that’s just the way it was.

Of course Ronaldo’s sadness spawned front page headlines and the search for the Holy Grail of soccer . . . what would make Ronaldo happy?

Short of a complete psychological makeover, it would be difficult for anyone to assess why a guy making tons of money, playing on one of the glamour teams in the world, a guy who can have whatever he wants, would be sad.

But sometimes it is difficult to figure out children.

One newspaper story probably comes as close as any to the true sadness behind Ronaldo. He has almost everything but he doesn’t have everything and when someone fails to get everything they want, it is always someone else’s fault.

It isn’t really a question of money the story says, although Ronaldo isn’t exactly happy he isn’t the highest played player in the world. Somehow 10 million euros net isn’t enough because others are making the same or more.

Nope, the story says Ronaldo is more worried about “respect, affection and recognition. (Ronaldo does not feel he has the backing of his club, his teammates or the fans.”

He doesn’t feel the team supported him enough in his desire to be chosen UEFA Best Player in Europe, or that they won’t change the rules for selecting the captain which right now is based on how long a player has been with the club and he’s also unhappy because he believes the players do not see him as a leader on the club.

Here’s the classic. Ronaldo is also upset he was not defended by all fans when he was booed at El Bernabeu Stadium.

Is it all true?
Most likely it is.

Some fans may join Ronaldo in feeling sadness.

Some will feel rage that Ronaldo continues to act like an egomaniac regardless of the cost to everyone else.

Some simply ignore the tantrums whether they are leg-kicking, roll around on the floor tantrums or the quiet, please-notice-me-I-am-sad tantrums like this one.

Ronaldo becomes yet another star athlete who has lost touch with the real world as he strives to gain something he never will.

He won’t gain it because it is something that’s not given to you it has to be earned . . . respect and leadership.

No amount of sadness or manipulation will ever change that.

 

Give me team handball over basketball anytime

- August 13th, 2012

If you are looking for some final thoughts on the 2012 London Olympics and are a big fan, you may want to turn away now before the rosy red glow of happiness about the games, turns into a beet red glow of anger.

Canadians can spin our country’s performance any way it wants but it was poor. It was so poor that the media had to seize whatever opportunities they could and beat them to death as they did the women’s soccer team. A bronze medal in a sport that has a reduced field to begin with is a fine accomplishment and it was deserved but it’s far from a Top 4 finish at a World Cup for example.

It’s the story that captured the imagination. Canada almost beat a United States team it hasn’t beaten in years running into some unfortunate refereeing on its way to a loss.

What should really be celebrated is the fact a Canadian soccer team finally responded positively to a pressure situation.

As a soccer fan, it was wonderful to see the sport finally get some attention from people other than those who love the sport. We will see whether the momentum remains until the 2015 World Cup being held in Canada.

 

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The Olympics aren’t about National Basketball Association players coming in and dominating the sport. They aren’t about Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Andy Murray coming in and dominating the sport.

The Olympics are more about events such as team handball, wrestling, judo, archery, shooting, running swimming, gymnastics events that many countries never see and that never get the kind of international publicity of other events. That’s the beauty of watching Olympic events.

There is a greater value in a gold medal won by a modern pentathlete or dccathlete, rower or team handball player than there is in a gold medal won by a team with LeBron James, Bryant and the handful of other NBA stars.

Perhaps the Olympics should consider going to an age-rule for basketball and tennis as they do for soccer. You have to be under a certain age to be eligible.

It took more effort for the American professionals to work up some emotion at the win than it did to actually win.

Olympic musings

- August 3rd, 2012

There is good and bad news about the CBC buying back the rights to the 2014 and 2016 Winter and Summer Olympics.

The 2012 Games currently going on in London are being covered in Canada by a broadcasting consortium that includes TSN, CTV and Sportsnet.

Their coverage has been widespread. That’s the good news. There are multiple sports to choose viewing from throughout the day and night.

CBC won’t be able to match that and that is the bad news.

The good news is we won’t have to put up with the same feature or news event being covered at least once on all three stations.

Honestly, seeing an almost frothing Canadian interviewing gushing at an eighth place finish is bad enough but seeing it done by three different gushers on three different stations is too much.

For those who care nothing about who wins or loses and are only interested in the competition, the lack of perspective by television desk jockeys is one of the main reasons so many are turned off an event where flag waving and excuse-making by media has become commonplace.

The classic came during the Olympic women’s road race involving Canadian Clara Hughes. After the race, one of those television desk jockeys explained that while Hughes didn’t win a medal, she at one time led the race.

He failed to mention that Hughes led the race when every racer was still in the peloton and she was merely at the front along with another 20 or so riders who took turns “leading the race.”

Athletes just want to be respected and given credit for how hard they work. They are the last people who want the media to make excuses for them.

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Please, please, please, stop calling women or young women “girls.” They are athletes or young women, or women. Calling a 25-year-old woman a girl is demeaning.

The funny thing is, you don’t hear announcers calling adult men “boys,” ever.

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Finally, cheating is a standard at the Olympics. Some athletes get caught, others don’t whether it’s drugs or simply manipulating the system. The badminton scandal saw four teams thrown out of the Olympics for losing games deliberately so they could get a better seeding in the next round. The teams were so obvious about it, Olympic officials had not choice but to toss the teams out.

But what’s incredible is that the Japanese women’s soccer team is still in the Olympics after their coach admitted manipulating a result against South Africa to get a better seed in the next round.

The Japanese coach admitted telling his players not to score in the second half.

Why are the Japanese still in the Olympics?

 

 

 

FC London success richly deserved

- July 27th, 2012

There’s really no other way to say it . . . bravo FC London, bravo.

The four-year-old USL Premier Development League soccer franchise is holding the PDL North American finals at Cove Road Field Saturday. The Blues have a chance to win a title that is one of the most difficult to attain considering how many teams play in the PDL.

The team’s on-field success is terrific, proof that you can be successful in soccer in this city. That on-field success comes because FC London has long-time, knowledgeable soccer people at the helm especially Martin Painter as coach. In four years FC London has made the playoffs every year.

But success only comes with tenacity and organization behind the scenes. Ian Campbell is the owner of this franchise and given the size of his wallet he could probably get a bunch of people to do the hard work. But with Campbell soccer is a passion and he is tireless in his pursuit of making this franchise successful. He and his FC London’s organization and other teams are always in the community getting involved and participating. When things turn difficult, and there have been times when not all was smooth sailing, Campbell and the organization simply worked harder to find a way to makes things better.

The product on the pitch is evidence of Painter, Campbell and everyone else’s hard work. FC London is the essence of what a community owned team needs to do. But they also constantly find players that are worth spending money to come out and see.

The Blues may not win the North American title but when they play Seattle on Saturday at Cove Road Field it will be a show and an experience. The place will be jammed with thousands of fans turning the German Canadian Club into a soccer festival.

It is the kind of night soccer fans in this city wait for.

It’s a reward well merited for bogth those fans but especially FC London.

 

 

Penn State punishment warning to all

- July 23rd, 2012

Make no mistake about the penalties handed out Monday to Penn State for its non-action as young children were being abused by football coach Jerry Sandusky.

While these are penalties to Penn State and its football program, it is a warning to every other university not only in the United States but in many ways Canada as well.

And it’s about time the warning was issued.

University sports and those who run university sports, has developed a culture where they believe they are in a world unto themselves. It is a world where you do whatever you can to advance and protect your sport. It is a world where lies and deceit are placed on a scale of little white lies up to Penn State level. It is a world where coaches and sports administrators demand respect while not giving any back. It is a world where programs often give the middle finger to fans, their own administrators and the media, where accountability is only a word and where they actually believe that what happens within the confines of a team structure remains in the confines of a team structure, no matter how horrific or illegal that activity is.

It is the essence of Sports Gone Wild.

In the months that have gone by after the discovery of Sandusky’s abuse, coach Joe Paterno’s and other leaders at Penn State’s attempt to cover up the abuse, there has been a public debate that has attempted to separate what Sandusky did, what the football program did along with attempts to exonerate Paterno. It’s what happens in the culture of sports. No matter what happens, we will defend our actions because we are not accountable to the real world.

Penn State’s penalties are severe but no penalty would have been severe enough. Paterno’s statue will be taken down. In truth, if Penn State wanted to remind everyone of what really happened, the phony saint’s statue should be left up with a postscript, “He is a man who preached about humanity but sold out the well-being of children for the sake of a football program.”

There will be plenty of moaning and groaning about the penalties punishing the school. Most of it will focus on punishing a group of individuals who had nothing to do with what happened.

There is a $60-million fine representing about one year of football profits, a four-year bowl ban, all wins from 1998 to 2011 are vacated and a variety of other punishments.

In announcing the punishments Mark Emmert, NCAA president, makes some laudable if laughable points. It seems like some of these guys have just come in from another planet.

Emmert warns about “athletic culture taking precedence over the academic culture.”

You think!!!!!

“We’ll dramatically scale back our TV contract to avoid the hero worship and athletic culture I’ve just vilified,” he continued.

Good luck with that especially when the NCAA has to leave millions of dollars on the table. People get stupid over sports. It takes over their lives to the point where they so idolize athletes, many of whom are jerks and jackasses, that they turn a blind eye to child sexual abuse.

But the line has now been drawn. We aren’t naïve enough to believe that this alone will prevent those who play, coach or administer teams from continuing to keep their culture, practices and mindset separate from the real world.

We aren’t naïve enough to believe that these people won’t be defended for doing it by the many people who have nothing else but sports to get them through the day.

But the penalties and after-shock of Penn State will give them pause for thought about the consequences of attempting to do what Penn State did.

It also challenges everyone else, fans, media and players alike to do the right thing by making teams accountable when sports culture goes wild.