Arguing with the officials is as much a part of sport as athletic supporters. In baseball, players spit near the feet of umpires while managers kick dirt on homeplate. Football coaches race down sidelines blue in the face with rage screaming bloody murder. And who could forget this classy gem by NHL head coach Joel Quenneville in the playoffs last year:
Soccer is different. Arguing with the official is almost romantic. Players plead their case like jilted lovers. Their eyes pour with extreme disbelief like the wrongest of wrongs has been done unto them immediately after they kick another man in the shin (from behind). How could the referee punish me for this?! They hold their hands as if to pray, begging the referee to see their side, as if the fate of humanity depended on it. With arms extended out, as if crucified, they beg for a higher power (the guy with the whistle) to see things their way!
I was at my first Edmonton FM match on the weekend. We tide the match at 1 in extra time off a free kick. It was a thrilling finish to an afternoon filled with the most romantic sports arguing I have ever seen. I am now a soccer fan.