A FEW days ago, there was an interesting post in social media about a girl winning a wrestling tournament against boys. Time magazine posted it and it was interesting how the boys’ face looked like. It was as if they were thinking, “This is going viral and I will be seeing this for the rest of my life.”
Do you know what that reminded me of? Footballers, especially lady footballers.
I’ve seen men fall down writhing in pain after rolling over a few meters from a phantom shove and I’ve seen 12-year-old girls get up after getting shoved in the face.
Not all male footballers are that soft, of course, but I have to say, there seems to be a magic barrier in the 20-yard box that strips macho men of their masculinity and they fall at the slightest touch. I’ve seen the college players do it. I’ve seen the Azkals do it. I’ve seen the stars do it.
Of course, there are exceptions.
I still remember the very first time I saw a flop. It was a summer basketball tournament in my hometown and I was barely 12. Guy hit a guy, wailed and shot wildly.
I glanced at someone beside me and the question was obvious in my clueless face.
Growing up, down South, everyone had an image of a football player--toughies with excellent stamina--and we played the part. When Cable TV finally invaded our place, let’s just say we learned the footballers fall at the slightest touch, heck even at no touch at all, inside the 20-yard-box.
I remember in the late ‘90s the practice got so common that the Fifa president himself was calling out the stars; people in Sunday leagues were flopping like crazy because the guys they were watching were flopping like crazy. Remember Rivaldo and how he got hit in the chest and was covering his face as if Mike Tyson himself punched him?
The NBA had such an epidemic too and I may be wrong, but I think it happened post- Jordan? I haven’t seen MJ flay wildly, worthy of an Oscar the way Lebron does after getting his hair touched, have you?
Didn’t it get so bad too that the NBA had to increase fines on flopping a decade or so back?
Which brings me back to the girl and the wrestler and the girl footballers here.
You play like a girl.
You punch like a girl.
That’s an insult some like to use.
But perhaps, so we can toughen up our male footballers and basketball players, at least the guys who love to fall at the phantom touch, we should make them play like girls?