Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Idiosyncratic Traditions Give Beautiful Game Its Flair

When a soccer player goes on to his stage to perform, he has to be ready to put on a show. Knowing that millions of eyes are on him, he has only 90 minutes to impress and put on a great act.

So the player needs to do more than just run around trying to put the ball in the back of the net – he needs to get the spotlight on himself while he’s on stage. As a result, we always see players coming up with new moves in an effort to leave a lasting mark in the soccer world. Some displays have been repeated so many times in sports history that they have become rituals for the majority of the teams. As the Gemini duo, we take note of the laughable and downright weird commonalities of the soccer world.

For starters, many players will take off their shirts after scoring a goal, even though they know they will receive an automatic yellow card for this act classified as “excessive celebration.” Some players do it more frequently than others, while some seem to reserve this celebration for amazing goals. Are these celebrations premeditated, or is ripping off one’s shirt a natural instinct after scoring a spectacular goal? That is all nice and entertaining, but seeing players accumulate yellow cards for celebrations that add no value to the game can be extremely frustrating. Some players take this a step further and wear a shirt underneath their jerseys with messages to loved ones, spectators or friends. (Kaka in particular is famous for the “I love Jesus” message on his shirt.)

It is always nice to see a player

running to celebrate with his teammates and staff on the bench. An odd, yet fairly frequent occurrence is when a player runs to the bench to hug a coach. It’s intriguing to watch as it makes one wonder if an elaborate play was employed by the coach leading to the goal, or if it is a reminder of a relationship between a player and a coach. Or could it just be the need for a player to get brownie points with his coach? You never know.

It is always odd to see coaches very emotionally involved in the game and come out of their designated areas. This can lead to conflicts with the fourth officials on the sidelines and add more controversy to the games. Some managers, like Real Madrid’s Jose Mourinho, have earned an odd reputation of kicking water bottles on the sidelines, releasing their frustration by assaulting beverages.

From the nine year-old goalkeepers in youth leagues to the World Champions like Iker Casillas, all goalies seem to have an habit of screaming at the defense after they make an amazing save. One can’t help but wonder if the act of screaming at defenders is an attribute taught at goalkeeping academies and camps, just as Cristiano Ronaldo might have practiced and perfected his diving over time.

Goalkeepers also tend to irritate opposing players during penalty kicks by jumping up and down while waving their arms and doing other crazy things in the goal. Polish national Jerzy Dudek was really good at this, and became known for swinging his hips and jumping up and down during the kick, and managed to have an excellent penalty record when he was playing for Liverpool. Legendary German goalie Oliver Kahn would play mental games, pointing to players and ridiculing them for misses not only after penalties but also in the normal game time in an effort to demoralize them.

The common behavior of players patting down the field with their feet, pressing the ball down and employing all means that would supposedly make their free-kicks better were the oddest things about set pieces until the advent of the “Cristiano Ronaldo” stance. Ronaldo does have one of the best free-kick techniques, but it is probably not due to how far he sticks his butt out before taking free-kicks. He didn’t always do this earlier on in his career; it could be an attempt to develop a signature style similar to Roberto Carlos’ feet shuffle before his kicks.

The list goes on and on. Just pay attention the next time you are watching soccer to see these little fun details about the game, and you will realize that you are part of one great, entertaining show.

ichael Appau is a sophomore in the College. Cem Yolbulan is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service. GEMINI SPORTS appears in every third issue of HOYA SPORTS.

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