Mario Is Missing

Soccer is extremely bipolar. There’s no even, steady feeling in soccer. The spectrum goes from complete indifference (“soccer isn’t a sport”, “nobody likes soccer” etc.) to full-on passionate fury (throwing cups of vomit and urine onto opposing fans, running onto the field to commit religious hate crimes), and that’s not just for the game itself — it is a spectrum that includes fan reactions. Nobody sees a controversial soccer moment and says “oh, okay, that weird thing happened”. It’s either “meh who cares” or “THIS [racial slur] MUST BE BEHEADED AT DAWN”.

Case in point: During Sunday’s preseason exhibition game (or “friendly”) between the LA Galaxy and Machester City, star striker (and Iron Chef) Mario Balotelli was one-on-one with the goalkeeper. If he moved his leg slightly, his team would go up 2-0. Instead of kicking it, he started shuffle-stepping and tried to backheel the ball in. It dribbled out of bounds harmlessly and ended as a goal kick for the MLS side.

Now, my initial reaction is to type “lol” in lowercase and think he looked like a dummy. A second watch reveals that he thought he heard a whistle, so he was just screwing around. Neither of those reactions were shared by The Soccer Community, be they on the Internet, playing or calling the game. Their reactions were “this man is a disgrace to humanity” and “BLEARGHHH”. Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini was so enraged by Balotelli’s Tony Hawk Pro Shot that he immediately took him out and started yelling. The crowd booed. The announcers said YOU GOTTA BE KIDDIN’ ME and said fans of both teams were disappointed.

At once, one of the least important looking things I’ve ever seen became a furious debate. Should I not care, or care so much it boils my blood? I can’t pick a side, so I’m opening it up to you. If you read this and have an opinion, leave a comment. Preseason miscommunication or treason? Let me know.

[via EPL Talk]