Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hooli Culture... Baghdad Style


An Iraqi fan (using that term loosely), shot dead a player on the opposing team who was trying to score the tying goal in the final minutes of a match.

"As soon as the player was alone in front of the goalkeeper and close to equalizing, a fan in the crowd fired a pistol at him," a senior police officer in Hilla, who declined to be named, told Reuters. "We arrested this fan immediately but unfortunately the player died."

Iraqis love soccer and have often expressed hope the game would help reconcile warring ethnic groups and sects.

If only their love for the game could overpower love of violence and inability to use sound reasoning against killing over a sport. I'm actually surprised it was a pistol and not an RPG.

Iraq's surprise victory in the 2007 Asian Cup brought rare joy and unity to the shattered nation, with Shi'ites, Sunni Arabs and Kurds pouring into the streets to celebrate their team's 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia in the Jakarta final.

The shooting on Saturday in Hilla, 100 km (60 miles) south of Baghdad, during a match between local teams, underscored the country's propensity to lawlessness even as violence by militant groups falls to lows not seen since mid-2003.

I know I cannot condemn the Iraqis for this incident because many other countries are nearly as bad and they actually have laws and rules. What I'll never understand is a question that is not all that complex. I've always been an extremely athletic and competetive individual. Despite taking part in and excelling at numerous sports from a young age, I never took much if any enjoyment out of watching others play any sport really. It simply does not interest me. Maybe this is why I look at sport the way I do, I don't know but my question is this. How simple must you be, how shamefully useless must every other aspect of your life be that you are willing to kill, fight, or even argue over sport?

I think maybe that's why I've never gotten into it. Sport does attract the masses and the majority of fans are normal people I know, but the thing I can't deal with is that some of the dumbest people I've met are some of the most hardcore "fans". People who can't afford a pack of juicy fruit will pay $130 to go sit for 2 hours in -30 degree weather under 3 feet of partially frozen lake to watch a bunch over overpaid babies who are jacked up on steroids toss, kick, or hit a ball around a large field for $2,000,000 an hour while the family of the person who paid the money has to share one can of spam and 4 navy beans for a week just to eat.

It's only a sport people, it means nothing in the grand scheme of things... other than a good distraction so that people won't or don't have to concern themselves with things that actually matter.

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