Monday, July 10, 2006

Hot Potato

There's a lot of soccer-related hot potato/blame game over the last few weeks, vis-a-vis the US team. I realize this post shoulda come a few weeks ago, but it took me a few weeks to digest the whole thing.

OK, so we got 1 point, and were lucky to get that. We lost badly to the Czechs and unspiritedly to the Ghanians. I'm not sure if it's an American thing, but people like pointing fingers. It's tidy and it makes for good news. Wynalda blames Arena, Arena blames MLS Donovan and Beasley, Donovan blames himself (sorta), I don't know whom Beasley blames it on. Some reporters blame it on our youth system, and pretty much everything else.

I'm curious what South Korean writers are saying, or Japanese, Ivory Coastan, Czech or even Serbian, for that matter.. all teams with aspirations of getting into the knockout phase of the Cup. It makes it look as though each defeat has a definite reason; as if all of life's outcomes have a definite reason that we can learn from. There's something psychological there - that we can always improve and learn from mistakes, which I think it's great, but I don't think that's always so.

Not everything in life happens b/c of a definite reason. People like and don't like each other; stocks appreciate, people get hired for jobs. Sometimes, the reasons are harder to distinguish from others, but when it comes to sports, which is much more about percentages than people know, sometimes things just happen. Most of the time when a team or an individual loses, it's because their opponent was better. OK, so maybe if Ching comes in, or Convey played longer, or Gibbs stays healthy, we do better, but we don't know - it's just conjecture. The easiest explanation is the correct one here - teams get beat by better teams; maybe players or tactics or preparedness, but our opponents were just better. It happens. We don't need committees to look into it, or meetings or anything else.