[Baltimore Sun] Soccer’s flop-fest makes for great TV | GUEST COMMENTARY

Read Time:2 Minute, 15 Second

I’ve got to say, this year’s Copa America and Euro soccer tournaments have really won me over. I used to revile soccer’s flop-fest; now I relish it. The artistry, duplicity, and histrionics are comical, entertaining, and audacious.

For starters, you have to appreciate the sheer quantity. You won’t see this many dives at SeaWorld.

More than anything, though, I’ve come to treasure the performances. One moment, a player suffers a career-ending injury; the next, he’s zooming around like a schoolboy let out for recess. Have you ever watched Cristiano Ronaldo flop? The guy could teach at Juilliard.

One of the flopping’s great pleasures is how renowned play-by-play man Ian Darke treats each one with the utmost credulity. With his clipped and curt delivery and refined English accent, every autopsy is a delight.

“Bruno’s down again. And this … doesn’t … look … good. Poor chap. Let’s hope he walks again one day.”

“Down goes Pedro. Sudden blast of wind to the tummy. Funeral set for Monday.”

It’s not just the players and Mr. Darke. The extras are also excellent. Many flops automatically trigger a full medical team, complete with stretchers, fluids and that fairy-dust-in-a-can.

Flopping also transcends the pitch. My kids flop all the time and generally for the same reasons as soccer players: They’re tired, they’re stalling, they want to kick the ball. The sudden crumpling to the ground, the manufactured cries of agony, the brief pause and sideways glance to see if anyone’s buying it — any parent of small children knows the footballer’s flop routine down pat.

Even better, thanks to language barriers the referee is often reduced to shaking his head and wagging a stern finger — “No, no, no” — to the felled footballers. It’s what we do every day. Art imitates life. Truly, flopping is art.

If you still think soccer players flop too much, consider that maybe the rest of us don’t do it enough. Ever had a presentation you’ve been dreading? Perhaps a long walk to work in the cold rain? Can’t bear the thought of a third trip to the grocery store on a Tuesday? Might be a good time to pull a quad.

“Car seats need switching again. And Przystup’s down. ACL, at the very least. And he’s writhing in pain. Going to need a sub. Ah, here comes the wife.”

A sport and a show in 90 minutes. Pass the popcorn — you can’t beat soccer.

Zach Przystup ([email protected]) works for the Fulbright Program at the U.S. Department of State.

Read More 

About Post Author

Happy
Happy
0 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
0 %
Sleepy
Sleepy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %