Sunday, January 11, 2015

Rooney's lack of class

So Southampton just beat Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford, and after the game Wayne Rooney was being interviewed.  He was philosophical in saying "that's football," in the sense that in a low-scoring sport it's easy to lose even if you play well, but when asked whether Southampton played better than Man U, he responded "well I've seen them play better."

Now, if he had been Dean Smith, he would have said "yes, they outplayed us," and he would have praised the opposing coach and team.  Of course, basketball and soccer are indeed different sports, with different scoring profiles, and soccer does admit of much more randomness than does basketball in determining outcomes.  Basketball is much more aggregative and cumulative in a given game, whereas soccer is cumulative over the course of a season, but less so in a game. But still, it wouldn't have been so hard for Rooney to have been more gracious in losing.

So why wasn't he?  Is it more important in soccer for players to believe in their superiority even when they lose?  Is it inherent in the role of the coach rather than the player to be the gracious one?

Or has something fundamentally changed in the way we view competition?  Certainly, for UNC, something changed since Smith departed.  And now the university is on the point of paying the price for it.

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