The Mad, Mad Controversy About Canada’s Loss to the U.S. at The Olymics

I’ve spent a good deal of Tuesday talking to radio stations about Canada 3 USA 4 (in extra time) at the Olympics. Most of the questions asked of me are legit. (I’ve declined to do TV interviews. On this subject, television is formidably stupid.) Was the referee biased? Why is there no video replay in soccer? Why is FIFA investigating? Is this why soccer has never taken off in North America? I try to explain that, really, the game was heartbreaker but nobody in the whole wide world of soccer is going to change the rules because some Canadians feel an injustice was done.

Always I try to keep in mind my own words. The end of The World is a Ball: The Joy, Madness & Meaning of Soccer. Words written after France beat Ireland to qualify for the World Cup, thanks to two illegal handball moves by Thierry Henry.

“Everything I’ve thought about the joy, madness and meaning of soccer is under confused scrutiny in my head. The game goes beyond logic. Nothing matters beyond the touchline. The game is like life. The referee’s decision is final, even if he’s wrong and the whole world knows it. The game brings joy, and kills it. It is so mercurial it transcends ideals of “sporting” and “fair play.” Cheating happens, and just as in life itself, an injustice unfolds, flourishes. France qualifies for the World Cup.
I have traveled the world to watch soccer and write about it, and celebrate it. Yet it is here, blocks away from my home, that I know, heartscalded, the terrible meaning of it all. The game brings joy, breaks your heart, brings joy, breaks your heart, brings joy, breaks you heart…”

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