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Is the World Cup worth it? Infographic lets you be the judge.

July 7, 2014 Leave a comment

With the 2014 FIFA World Cup now whittled down to its semi-finals,  and Brazil, Germany, Netherlands, and Argentina ready to square off against each other to see who will play for soccer’s richest prize, it seems like a good time to evaluate whether the tournament has been worth what Brazil paid to get it. The hosts were (and always are, not unlike Olympic hosts) heavily criticized for their expenditures a midst troubling economic times for its citizens — especially considering that hosts get very little money back at tournament’s end,  or over the long term.

The folks at 188betblog.com have made an infographic showing the costs that many host countries paid for past World Cups, and the returns the event created for both the host and FIFA. You’ll be interested to know how expensive it is,  and you may even start questioning whether hosting the World Cup is actually worth it in the long run or not — if you weren’t already prior to seeing this evidence.
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WorldCup infographicThe 2014 World Cup is one of the biggest international sports events of the year, rivaling the Winter Olympics in Sochi held in February.  The World Cup is a celebration of football, a sport beloved by millions — if not billions — of fans from all corners of the world.

Fans are embracing the World Cup, but FIFA and other tournament organizers were concerned about the costs spent preparing for the tournament.  Many of the costs were tied up in stadium construction or investments in infrastructure.  On the flip side, the work stimulated thousands of jobs for the national economy.

But do those costs pay off over the long term? Economists predict Brazil will spend at least £8.6 billion ($14.5 billion), with some experts predicting the cost could even double that estimate.

If the total cost is finalized at the minimum projection, the bill will still be astronomically above the tabs for previous World Cup tournaments.  For example, South Africa spent approximately £2.6 billion ($4.5 billion) on the 2010 World Cup – only a fraction of the projected costs for Brazil.

What’s more concerning for the Brazilian economy is that history is not a comforting guide.  According to International Business Times, South Africa made back only 11 percent on a £2.6 billion ($4.5 billion) investment to host the 2010 World Cup – falling far short of initial estimated profits.

The same post mentions Brazil’s plans to bring home approximately £6.5 billion ($11 billion) in revenue from the 2014 World Cup.  Even if Brazil hits that goal, the revenue will still fall short of making back all the money invested into hosting the tournament.

The cost vs. benefit debate dates back to previous World Cups as well, with many experts questioning if hosting the World Cup is in a country’s best economic interests.  As costs and expectations continue rising with each passing year, is the payoff to host the World Cup really worthwhile?

XP PSP so1e07: Go Berzerk

October 19, 2013 Leave a comment
Episode 7 of the eXPat Pro Sports Podcast is up and running. Nevermind how we got from episode 5 to 7 without a 6th show, that’s not your concern.
Panel: Dave Cunning, Harold Dale, Ryan Brown, Dan Nabben
In this episode, we discuss:
-Ilya Bryzgalov’s free agent woes, and getting cut – whether to stick with it or pack it in.
-Tim Thomas, taking a year off and expecting to pick up where he left off; who can actually do that.
-The guy in every sport on every team that’s a little off.
-Hertl’s goal, “The Code”, and what it means in different sports.
-The place of fighting in hockey and all sports.
-Whether the opinion of former players or analysts who didn’t play holds more weight than the other.
-Why the Chicago Cubs are allegedly superior to the Chicago White Sox.

Giants Win, Bonds Rages? Bush – Ranger Danger Quiz, Expressed Written Consent, and Another CFL Improvement Thought.

November 2, 2010 8 comments

Congratulations, San Francisco Giants on winning the World Series.  You guys had the guy with beard, and the young guy with the long hair… I mean with that cast of characters, and the storyline of ending your championship slump (doesn’t the slump notion seem like a reoccurring theme every year now when someone wins?) you were destined to win. 

I can’t help but think that, somewhere, Barry Bonds is spinning in his grave though. Wait, he’s still alive? Well, surely he’s jealous at least; probably a little mad too that the Giants put him out to pasture right after he was done showing off how many homeruns he could hit. Can’t you just hear the Giants brass’ sarcasm laced speech to Bonds,

Thanks for everything over the years Barry.  Ok now that you’re done doing YOUR thing (you know, the thing with the ‘alleged’ steroids, and the history/record tarnishing thing), WE’RE gonna go win the World Series. Yeah, remember that big shiny trophy that all the baseball teams try to win every year?  Yeah, we decided that winning it is actually important now that we don’t have you around to hit baseballs into the harbor and boost ratings and ticket sales.”

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Did having George Bush Sr and Barbara skew your results? How about the allegiance with MLB legend Nolan Ryan? Does hanging out in the public eye with people that are actually historically liked make W more likeable now that he’s no longer collapsing the stability of his country? Explain your answer.

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MLB is sure sticking to their guns on that “expressed written consent” requirement, aren’t they? Still to this day in 2010, broadcasters make that announcement, mid-game. Must it be pen & ink? Is text or email ok? If I write in now and get permission, I should be able to see the World Series in 6-8 weeks, best case scenario.

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Dear CFL,

Just move the upright post in the CFL from the front to the back already, seems like a no-brainer to avoid injury and embarrassment.  I get it, you’re different than the NFL, that’s fine, but why not try my idea?  Structurally sound?  I can’t prove that, but I think we have smart enough people out there to make it work somehow.  Just don’t let Shaq hang on it, and we should be fine. 

 

 

Sports Shorts: MJ-Favre, Shootout Trophy, Kings Colors, Goalie Chirps, and the Commonwealth Games Snub.

October 27, 2010 9 comments

 

 

Before (good) & after (not as good)

To me, it seems that the most recent incarnation of Brett Favre (that is, the Minnesota Vikings version) seems a lot like the most recent playing incarnation of Michael Jordan (Washington Wizards edition); both former superstars in their prime (Jordan best basketball player ever, Favre arguably one of the better quarterbacks in recent history), now playing in/beyond the twilight of their career, playing for an obscure team not likely of much success, putting up decent enough numbers to say that they’re contributing, but not in a “championship contender” kind of way.  Oh, and they both danced the retired/unretired/retired/unretired-legacy endangering sonata, with Mike finally bowing out, and Brett (supposedly) finally winding down after this year as well.  I know it’s gotta be hard to leave the game for a lot of different/mostly selfish reasons; it’s all they’ve ever done, all their friends are doing it, what else would they do, they’re really good at it, winning championships is fun, self-worth and identification, etc.  But I think the mark of a really great player in any sport is being good enough at it, and earned enough respect through the years to be granted the ability to leave their game on their terms.  Too many players who’ve had good careers abuse this right, lose the privilege, and are eventually told there’s no longer room for them (Mike Modano), or are told just to leave altogether (Chris Chelios).   Not that Modano nor Chelios possess the legacy in hockey that Jordan or Favre do in basketball or football, but you get the point.       

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How is there still not a side points bracket for shootout goals/saves in the NHL?  With such a pivotal interlude in the game that literally wins or loses games, you’d think the people responsible for the results could get some sort of recognition.  Their stats don’t need to count towards Rocket Richard or Vezina Trophy balloting, but why shouldn’t there be a trophy for most shootout goals in a season?  Or shootout saves for that matter?  The best rookie (Calder), defenceman (Norris)/ a forward ”being good at defensive aspects” (Selke), and most gentlemanly player (Lady Byng) all get one and have their acheivements recognized; you’re telling me the guy responsible for winning the most games in the season shouldn’t get something?

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Before (underrated) & After (looking sharp)

I have to admit, I like the retro LA Kings jerseys; they might even be my favourite throw-back uniform so far.  I think the purple and gold look better than they get credit for, and I also think they got way too much heat for looking bad back when they were the starting jerseys.  Also, nice work on the brown pads, glove and blocker.

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A few goalie chirps… how many 2nd chances on how many different teams is Jose Theodore going to get to be good again?  How long before the lustre/protection of a Vezina/Hart Trophy win in 2002 wears off? 10 years max?

Can you imagine if Cory Schnieder bumped $64 mil Roberto Luongo out of the Canucks’ starting goalie spot?  Lu should be careful with his “the team decided to give Schneids the night off” comments, they might just come back to haunt him, pemanently. 

I’m secretly cheering for Carey Price (not the Habs, just Price) to have an awesome year and shut everyone in Montreal up.  He’s got it rough playing in front of that kind of heat (Habs fans).  Obviously the fans wanted Halak to stay, and no one blames them.  Price getting traded probably would have been the best thing for him, but alas here he is.

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Speaking of heat, with all the hubbub about Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh over the summer, the Miami Heat pretty well have to win the NBA title this year if they’re going to show their faces in the league after this season, right?  Ok, good talk. 

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Do the Commonwealth Games seem a little snooty to anyone else?  54 countries are invited to participate, while at the Olympics, 200 are invited.  Do the results not seem a little skewed when you only compete against ¼ of the world’s sporting community?  Sure it’s nice to win stuff and be better than other people at sports, but I wouldn’t have too long of a parade when I get home for winning one of those medals.  Tough to brag much about winning when athletes from countries like China, Russia, Germany, and the USA aren’t invited or anywhere near the premises.  Congratulations, you beat competitors from a bunch of other average nations at this event….        



Look Soccer, We Have to Talk….

June 23, 2010 14 comments

Look soccer, I tried.  I tried really hard to like you, and to even fall for you.  On your grandest stage of all, the World Cup, I’ve kept up to date on highlights, tried to get a feel for who’s good and who’s not, forced myself to watch “The Footy Show”, and in the end, I hate to break it to you but….I’m just not that into you. 

I’ll stand by my earlier claims that I respect the abilities of the top players in the game, and thoroughly enjoy playing the game; but as far as sitting at home at watching on TV, I’m going to have to pass. 

I feel like this point has been beaten to death over the years, but you guys gotta score more goals.  Scoring = excitement in all sports, 100% of the time.  I can’t pretend to be riveted to the action of another “nil-nil” scoreless draw.  As I’ve previously iterated, Your game features THE BIGGEST NET IN SPORTS, so someone fill that net already, especially in a tournament that allows you to pick up extra points in the standings for your team’s “Goals For”, in addition to wins, losses, and draws.  Oh yeah, by the way, points for a tie?  Isn’t this the playoffs?  There are no ties allowed in the playoffs of any sport, I thought this was unilaterally understood.  Someone win the freaking game already, you only get to compete every 4 years in this tournament, so go make your mark, don’t just be happy to be there.

And can someone please tell us, definitively, how much time is actually left in the game? 90 minutes is clearly not 90 minutes.  I think the whole injury time thing is a good idea; recouping all the time the divers have wasted, plus the legitimate stoppages.  But why does the referee have to keep this seemingly arbitrary number of game extension time so secret?  Why can’t it be displayed on the clock with the rest of the time; or even better, why can’t you just stop the clock all together for said stoppages??

It’s possible that because Canada sucks at soccer didn’t qualify for the tournament nor will they ever, I am less enthused about the whole event.  On a side note though, I heard you’ve been screwing the American team, so you’ve got that going for you; keep it up, you’ll win Canadians over yet.  After spending a year in South Korea, I’ve found myself rooting for them a bit; also for the home South Africans because of friends we have there, and for the old standby’s of Brazil, Italy, and England.  Wasn’t France supposed to be good too?  But after a while, you realize there’s like a bazillion teams (well, 32) competing, and that just seems like such an obtuse number of squads competing at once.  Can’t you just narrow down the field a bit more before calling the tournament?  I mean, you’ve had 4 years to whittle down the numbers, it’s not like you were short on time or anything…   

I feel like comparing your game to China; in that we’ve been hearing for years now that China is going to take over the world in all aspects, and we’d all better learn to speak Chinese or we’ll all be screwed and have no future.  I’ve been hearing how soccer is the most popular sport in the world (probably true, in the global sense) and how it’s eventually going to be all the rave in North America.  Well, bad news for both hopefuls – I’m getting tired of waiting, and the language I’ve been speaking and the sports I’ve been playing all my life seem just fine they way they are (If China wins the World Cup, I’ll sign up for Mandarin classes).

I’ll give you one thing though, I DO like those vuvuzelas.  Seriously, I think they’re great.  I’m not sure if they’re an African thing or not, but if they are, no one should be saying a thing about banning them.  If that’s a cultural thing, let it be.  They sing during games in Europe, let them blow horns in Africa; why is this worth so many people getting angry about, and people having to invent software to edit them out of broadcasts?  I think it adds a unique flavour to the tournament.

I resolve to continue to be a casual soccer fan.  I’ll probably watch the final, and the odd highlight package, but don’t expect much more from me.  Unless they give all the players sticks.  And they let the players bodycheck.  And they pour water on the field and freeze it.  When those things happen, let me know, and we’ll talk.  Until then…..

Jeremy Roenick, Larry Fitzgerald, and The Terrible Trouble of Toppers.

March 13, 2010 15 comments

You stay classy, JR.

Sometime back in November ’09, I was sitting in a Kelowna pub, waiting for my boss to drop off a cheque to me.  He clearly wanted me to drink the money away with him right then and there, but I vowed to keep it, and my immediate debts clear.  Amidst my time biding, a man with an odd familiarity, though seeming out of place, caught my attention.  I puzzled to put the pieces together… finally assembling that it was former loud-mouth agitator showman NHL’er, Jeremy Roenick.  Once I put it together, I opted not to bother him (he was a good player and all, but I just didn’t seem to care that much).  He seemed a little perturbed, as if someone had just called him spoiled for getting paid to play “a game” for a job.  I found out later he was in town for the Kelowna Jaycee’s Gentlemen’s Charity Dinner… go figure.    

I still thought it was cool that I saw him, so I texted my friend, Justin Bourne, who resides in Arizona, about who I’d just seen.  A few minutes later, I got a text back saying something to the tune of, “Oh yeah? Well I just walked past Larry Fitzgerald.  Take that.” {editor’s note: verbatim may be exaggerated for effect}  He included the following picture:

My immediate reaction was to accuse Mr. Bourne of being a “Topper”, and of attempted topping, while under suspicion of conspiring to top.  He refuted the charges. 

Now you may be asking yourself, “But SDC, what is a Topper, or topping for that matter?”  Well, I’m glad you asked, and I’ll be happy to explain.  Or better yet, I’ll let Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comics visually explain:

So basically, a Topper is someone who always seems to conveniently have a better story than someone who is currently, or has just finished telling a story; generally for the purpose of garnering attention and admiration of others in earshot of the happening. 

Now, to be fair to, and in defence of Bourne, this definitely was an isolated topping incident, and I hold no other claims to current or former toppings.  But there are definitely people out there who do this on a regular basis, quite purposefully. 

The other side of this scenario is that, at the time, I had no idea who Larry Fitzgerald was (apparently he’s good at that game with the weird shaped ball that’s hard to throw, and a super guy) as I don’t watch football, but Bourne definitely knew who Roenick was (was good at hockey, and apparently a huge jackass).  So Justin may have a claim to innocence based on the fact that his topping criteria was not necessarily of topping magnitude, considering that I was not aware of Larry’s level.  But one could also cite that this point is irrelevant, and nullify the claimed innocence.  So what do you think?  Does the evidence speak for itself, or is topping relative to the participants?  Did Bourne (try to) top me? 

My conversational provoking query to you is: Do you know a topper?  What is your best topper story that you’ve seen or heard of?

Also, enjoy some more Topper comics, my favourite character in the Dilbert series.

NFL Inquiries, Trophy Triviality, and the Business that is Pro Football.

February 10, 2010 6 comments

A few thoughts on football before people’s caring about it completely drifts away until next season…

First, of course a tip of the cap to the Saints for winning the Superbowl.  I’m not anywhere near the first person to make this observation, but New Orleans was in need of something to celebrate since the Hurricane there.  Enjoy the “Lombardi Gras(awesome name)”, New Orleans!

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Now that we’re in the TiVO age, the Superbowl is the only television broadcast (possibly) in history that people will actually fast-forward the content in order to get to the commercials.  $3 million dollars for 30 seconds this year.  Here’s the best one that I saw:

So all the winners of any championship are on the field decked out in their new championship shirts and hats.  Obviously they had that stuff printed up prior to the win, and they must’ve made stuff for both teams (especially in a 1 game showdown for all the marbles, like in football).  So I’m wondering, where do all the printed shirts and hats go of the team that didn’t win the championship?  Is it carted off to be incinerated, as to not leave any evidence of its existence?  I’d love to get my hands on the 1993 Los Angeles Kings Stanley Cup Champions stuff that never made it to the public.

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The NFL recently adopted the use of captain’s C’s on their jerseys; ala the NHL.  In hockey, this identifies you as a leader, and affords you the ability to converse with referees during the game.  Hockey’s got C’s and A’s; but the NFL has developed some sort of Star Trek star ranking system.  Can any football fans out there clue me in on the responsibilities possessed by NFL captains, and how the ranking system works?

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The fact that headsets allow conversation between Quarterbacks, coaches, and team officials in the press box up top during games seems a little like cheating, doesn’t it?  Shouldn’t the players just play the game as they see it?  What happened to the well-disguised hand signals and mouth covering of baseball? 

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wait your turn, sir.

And finally, is there any more indication that the NFL is a business first, game second, than the fact that the team owner gets to hoist the Lombardi Championship Trophy first, ahead of team captains, and all the players?  I understand the whole “invested interest” thing, but come on man, those guys left it all out on the field to get their hands on that thing (also worked their entire lives to get to play at a level that’s nearly unobtainable by most humans).  Everyone tuned in to watch THE PLAYERS play football.  You paid a bunch of money.  You deserve the hoist too, but let the guys have their fun first.  Also, for how glorified the Superbowl has become, can we get them an adequately sized trophy?  Nothing says, “We’re the best in the world!” like a huge, two-hands-required, over-the-head-hoist, trophy. 

The Stanley Cup is a prime example; with all the engravings of past champs

Gretz, doin' it right.

 and additions of new sections over 100+ years of hockey.  You lift a lot more than that season over your head when you win it; especially considering you have to win 4 seperate 7 game series’ to get it.  The NFL’s just got a shiny football on a stick that you can lift with one hand.  And you can win it in one game.  Which would you rather win?

CFL Popularily Primer, Horse Happiness, and the Male Pink Perversion.

November 9, 2009 14 comments

Is it possible that the CFL could gain more popularity if they simply built stadiums that allowed fans to sit closer to the field, like in the NFL and NCAA? Why does the CFL make its attendees sit 50 feet away from all points of the field? You can nearly get field-side seats for American games; and the atmosphere shows its appreciation. Don’t CFL games look rather poorly attended on TV, comparatively?

football stadium comparison

Canada (left), US (right)

 

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 How happy are horses to be out of the common workforce? If horses are able to communicate with each other the way we are, I’m sure the elder horses have been passing down stories for years to the young ones about how they used to have to haul EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME until cars were invented. Oh, and they also had to fight in wars (well, carry people into some sort of big fracas the horses didn’t understand the meaning of, and maybe die for some reason). And take people everywhere. We still make them run as fast as they can in a circle so that people can make money off them, and trot people around in carriages and trail rides from time to time, but I’m sure the reduction in labour over the last 60 years has been more than acceptable.

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 Boys wear blue, girls wear pink. Everybody knows this. For some reason, some “men” recently got this strange notion in their head that it’s ok for them to be wearing pink. For every guy challenging the status quo by telling people their shirt was “salmon” colored, there were another two drinking dark ale, making fun of them. And so they danced.

Somewhere along the lines, it got really popular to support Breast Cancer research by wearing those loopy little ribbons, adorned with the color pink. An incredibly aggressive promotional push led to pink clothing, pink sports jerseys, pink sports equipment, and everything else you can think of lambasted pink all in the good name of supporting and funding research for the cure of Breast Cancer (please don’t get me wrong, I am in full support of curing the disease).

This has led to a loophole in the equilibrium of gender coloring. Now, allThe pink and black attack. those male fuchsia flirters trying to be edgy are able to hide from masculine scorn behind what has become an immunity idol of wearing the color most commonly associated with femininity; pink. Who in their right mind is going to make fun of someone supporting cancer research?

The only male I can give a non-cancer-related-wearing-pink free-pass to is Bret “Hitman” Hart, who did just fine with it, always wearing an equal amount of black with pink.

A Memo To Soccer People (if you play, watch, or like sports, please read).

September 18, 2009 12 comments

 

who, would you say, is more entitled to a celebration, if they score?

who, would you say, is more entitled to a celebration, if they score?

Dear Soccer People,

 

So you’ve got the most popular sport globally, soccer (football for the purists).  Though I doubt the research sometimes, I’ve heard the stat so many times I guess there’s got to be some truth to it.  You sell-out stadiums every night, and sometimes you riot because you’re into it so deep.  You got passion, I dig that. 

Your game doesn’t differ conceptually that much from similiar sports (get the ______ in the other team’s ______ ), but that doesn’t mean it isn’t tough.  Playing some pick-up soccer myself has re-inforced this to me.  If you haven’t noticed by now, just because the pro’s on TV in ANY sport make it look easy, doesn’t mean you can do it that well in your half-time beer-and-smoke-break league.  Just like any sport, it takes a lot of skill and effort to be any good at soccer.  Minus the diving.  

BUT still, with all that being said, please soccer players… if you listen to only one thing I say in this whole blog, let it be this:

  Your sport contains THE BIGGEST NET IN SPORTS. 

I realize that goals in soccer come on an average of 2 or 3 a month, but just because you finally punted that borderline beach-ball size of inflated rubber into netting which could corral a beluga whale, past the guy with no over-sized padding, does NOT mean your backflip is warranted.  Hey, scoring is cool, heck it’s one of the best feelings there is to feel.  But honestly, the fewer airplane spins and power knee-slides I see, the better.  I don’t, for one

I'm a professional athlete.  They pay me money to act like this.

I'm a professional athlete. They pay me money to act like this.

second, approve of the baby thumb-sucking celebration i’ve seen on a few occasions.  Also why do soccer players feel the need to rip off their jerseys when they score a big goal?  That jersey is a sense of pride in most sports.  The difference between hockey players and soccer players is that while soccer players don’t want their jerseys on and rip them off, hockey players grab their crest and shake it like a polaroid they’re so happy to have it on their chest.  Some hockey teams will actually fine their players for letting their jerseys touch the floor in the dressing room they’re so serious about respecting the uniform.

Scoring in hockey is unbelievably tough at the top levels.  The net is small, and most goaltenders are large humans to begin with, AND THEN they put on their pads, filling in and spilling over any “holes” that may have previously been present; likening your scoring chances to moustaches ever being actually, really, cool again.  You gotta be really good to pull either situation off.  So hockey goals deserve a big celly (celebration), but even the rockpiles (rookies) know not to go too far.  Fist pump: yes.  Stick ride: No. Ice duster with a follow-up pumper-nickle: time and a place.  Canoe paddle: Don’t bother suiting up next game.

Football players gotta grind those TD’s out.  There’s some big, bad mamma-jamma’s out there that really don’t want you in their end.  There’s some huge meathead football players, but even the best teams have a tough time getting it in field goal range against a defensive line named after large kitchen appliances.  So Terrell, I say flap your wings.  Throw the grenades and blow your team up.  Dirty bird, get derrrty.  You’ve earned it.

Basketball is well aware that even though they have the smallest net in team sports, it’s just not that big of a challenge when the telephone-pole sized players can literally start placing the ball in the net for over 100 points a game.  Even the dunkers are aware of the frequency of conversion.  Rarely do you see a basket celebration, and with good reason.

So soccer players, in conclusion, I enjoy your game, but never forget NO ONE IN SPORTS HAS A BIGGER NET THAN YOU. 

 The only exception I will allow to this rule is the header goal, or that bicycle kick.  These might be the toughest goals in sports to score, and to that I say climb the goal post and pick the coconuts for all I care, you deserve it.     Hopefully my British friends haven’t disowned me.  Remember, I’m not attacking soccer as a whole, just the over-sensationalized celebrations to goal size ratio, that’s all.  Just keep it all in perspective.  This is all I ask.

 

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