On my back and feeling like a soccer star

2012-08-25 00:00

LAST weekend I fell off a roof. And although my reasons for being on the roof in the first place were noble, I’m told that my plummet to the harsh ground below was anything but.

“You would think he’d at least try to look manly while falling,” a sharp-tongued onlooker, who had told just about everybody that he fancied boys and not girls, commented.

As I lay on the ground, fully aware that my dismount from the roof of Notties Pub was anything but impressive, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to dusting myself off and having to converse with anyone, let alone the dame who was my reason for being on the roof in the first place.

Quite frankly, falling off a roof like a pansy is embarrassing.

And it got me thinking. How on earth can footballers of today look their opponents, team-mates and supporters in the eye after pulling off some of the most theatrical dramatizations of injuries one could ever hope to see?

It’s got to the point where I’m embarrassed for them. Why would you pretend to be injured when even Curiosity can see that you’re perfectly fine? Anybody who has ever had a serious injury of any kind will know that it simply isn’t on, and that injuries are not something to play around with.

We all know that simulation isn’t a new thing in football. But at the dawn of a new season there is always the hope that maybe this year the men who run out onto our television screens will do the sport we love so much justice and play it in a fair, honest way. It’s no wonder we get so much stick from steroid-fuelled rugby junkies who tell us our sport is for softies. As much as we’d like to argue, our footballers in Africa and Europe don’t make it easy for us. Childlike temper tantrums directed at referees and ridiculous “dives” plague what should be a beautiful game.

The Olympics Games showcased, as did the World Cup last year, the professionalism associated with women’s soccer. So much so that even Fifa president Sepp Blatter acknowledged that their male counterparts could learn a thing or two from them. There is no rolling around the turf in agony unless the injury is real, and there is seldom any disrespect shown towards match officials. Where do these overpaid, childish, egotistical megastars get off? And what will it take to make them stop? Maybe they won’t stop. But somewhere between lying on my back looking up into the Midlands night sky and hearing the pitiful giggles that surrounded me, it hit me: “This is what it must be like to be a professional footballer.”

• sport@witness.co.za

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