Bad Behaviour- Mexico/USA Soccer

I was rudely awoken from my afternoon nap yesterday by the neighbours screaming. At first I was scared, thinking "What the bleep is going on???" until I groggily realized that it was the Mexico/US soccer game. My second thought was "The players can't hear you $%^#$%". I understand screaming while you are at the game, that's what gives the home field advantage, you let the players know you are supporting them, but screaming while watching something on TV is just ridiculous, what's the point?

Anywho....I'm not a huge soccer fan but decided to get online to see what all the screaming was about. Much to my dismay, I found not only the score, but a whole nasty pile of nonsense that had nothing to do with "sport". The first live chat I found was entitled "USA versus Evil", a lovely way to start my exploration. Within this chat I saw comments that infuriated me, mocking the Mexican national anthem, "jokes" about Mexicans trying to get green cards or making a run for the border, swine flu references (as if swine isn't all over the world) and generally racist words. I posted this on Facebook and the comments I received back suggest that this is simply "trash talk" and it's part of sport, but I really don't believe that disrespecting a culture and a country can be excused for any reason.

I then moved on to other articles that made me just as ill. Reports that Mexican fans booed the US national anthem and threw vomit and urine on a US player. I read of fights and punches thrown and a player strangling another player.

What kind of behaviour is this??? What does it have to do with soccer or athleticism or skill or technique or sport? Discussing this with Hubby he said "It's passion". Really? I thought passion was about "love, like, adore, worship", not about "hate, defile, disparage, disrespect". If one is passionate about their team or a sport, why can't one just support and be positive for their team, why does it have to be about "talking trash" or insulting the opponent? Why can't the focus be on skills and athleticism?

The whole thing has made me quite ill. I wasn't much of a soccer fan before (boring!) but now I am even more against it. I know my son wants to play, but why would I introduce him to such a negative environment? I'm trying to teach him to be respectful to everyone, but apparently "respect" is not part of the soccer world. The behaviour of the players and fans is NOT behaviour I want my son to learn.

While most Mexican fans are jumping for joy today, I think they should be hanging their heads in shame, along with the American fans who showed disrespect not only for a team, but for a race of people. I thought sports were supposed to be about fun, but there was nothing fun or funny about what happened in Azteca Stadium yesterday.

Comments

Islagringo said…
we go to the rapid soccer games on the island quite a lot. I have seen more than my share of pushing, shoving and thrown fists at these things. I just don't get this macho thing about sports either.
Gaelyn said…
I hope this won't sour you from letting Max play soccer. My experience when my son played was a lot of fun. In northern Washington we mostly played in Canada. The kids had a great time. And only occasionally did a parent get over excited by yelling at their own kid to do better.
On Mexican Time said…
Amiga - Don't let these bad acts of sportsmanship ruin the look/appeal of the game! My brothers played in Laurette de Mar (spain), and had the most wonderful life experience that has led them through Uni!
I played for the Alberta team for 9years until I hurt my knee!! It's a good game, but what took place "behind the scenes" is awful... I was watching a live feed on Fifa and saw the worst racial remarks, and did not find it tolerable... Still I have that "passion" your husband was talking about! Like anything there will always be the "losers" who will ruin it for everyone else!
Kelly said…
I think this might just be US-Mexico tensions coming to the surface...I hope it's not indicative of the sport as a whole. Soccer is not very big here (especially in Texas, where American football is king), so I wasn't sure what to think. But I had the same reaction. In better international news, I'm going to see the Mexican Boys Choir perform here in town on Sunday...maybe Max would like that better : ) From experience, choir competitions don't get quite as ugly.
1st Mate said…
I didn't know that about big-time soccer. Hockey is infamous for it, but I'm surprised a sport that's played worldwide would have such an ugly side, so flagrantly displayed.

I wonder if women's soccer is like that.

But I hope Max still gets his chance to play, hopefully in a team with girls too. Just don't encourage him to go pro!
Leslie Limon said…
The US and Mexican soccer teams are old rivals! The rivalry between the 2 teams is worse than the rivalry between the Chivas and America teams. More than anything, the reactions were about the "passion" that your Hubby mentioned and the fact that these 2 teams are "archenemies". (That's how my son sees it!) They will NEVER get along, play nicely or respect eachother. Very sad!
GONZO said…
Leslie said it best, its rivalry and passion and nothing will change it either. I am not a soccer fan but just look at the riots in the European leagues. The trowing of things at players on the field is absoulutly wrong and should be followed by a stiff jail sentence.

And 1ST MATE you are way off base with the hockey comment. I have never heard a racial comment at any hockey game I have attended. Yes they fight but not in the stands often. Read the book "The Code: The Unwritten Rules of Fighting and Retaliation in the NHL" by Ross Bernstein. That will be an eye opener for you about hockeys fighting.
Ok, so I'm involved with this man from Mexico City and he looooovvess soccer. I didn't realize the game was yesterday, I read your blog, so naturally I want to look up the score. I looked up the score and heard this from an announcer..."USA has a hard time winning on Mexico soil blah blah...Man I gotta get me one of those Mexicans to clean out my pool..." My jaw dropped, your kidding me. First thing I heard like an audio clip, I believe you now about the negative environment. People are ignorant.

News blogs check them out. :)
CancunCanuck said…
IslaGringo- The behaviour is outrageous and is taught to the children too. You won't find me at the Atlante games and I certainly don't want Max to go!

Gaelyn- To be honest, I don't even want Max watching the sport let alone playing it. Growing up in small town Canada I witnessed enough horrible behaviour from hockey families to turn me off kid's sports for a long time.

On Mexican Time- I don't get it, I really don't, how can you just ignore what's going on "behind the scenes"? I think there are a lot more positive activities I'd like to have Max experience.

Kelly- Oh man, those choir competitions can get pretty ugly (haha). Enjoy the show, it's certainly something I'd rather see Max involved in!

1st Mate- I agree about hockey, I grew up in small town Canada where if you didn't play hockey you were a (insert homophobic epithet here). I witnessed little kids whacked across the head with sticks and skates and parents at pee wee games getting into brawls in the stands, awful stuff. I am really hesitant to allow Max to participate, it's my job to protect him and to teach him what's right. If I am teaching him to respect others but allow him to participate in something that is not about respect at all, that makes me a hypocrite.

Leslie- As I said, I think of passion as being something positive, "Viva Mexico!" or "USA, USA" depending on your team, why should passion turn into something so ugly?


Gonzo- I must respectfully disagree. I was going to add that I am glad we are not in Canada as I don't have to worry about the horrible world of hockey. As I mentioned to 1st Mate (see above), hockey games for little kids are a disgrace. Parents screaming at their children to beat the other kids down, actually screaming "Kill the little black (homophobic epithet) kid!". There weren't very many kids of colour in the league, but those that were were tormented. And talk about racism, Don Cherry, king of the hockey announcers had no kind words for the Russians. The kind of talk I heard from "grown ups" in Canada was very nasty towards the Eastern European players and Americans too. Don't get me started on the fighting, everyone says "It's part of the game", well, if that's the case, I want nothing to do with it. I can't tell you how many games I went to in high school where the lights were turned out in the arena because of fights on and off the ice. Hockey players were pigs where I came from, they had notches in their hockey sticks for all the girls (puck bunnies) that they, er, conquered, sick, sick, sick.

Yo Quiero Cancun- People are ignorant indeed, sigh. Sadly I do read the news blogs and find myself more and more depressed about the way people treat each other and talk about each other.
Heather said…
Ok kelly, I have so many points on this matter, but I do agree with you in that yesterdays game was ugly, from start to finish. The booing during national anthem started with these 2 teams many yrs ago and sadly has continued. Mexico played USA in LA, I was there and the USA anthem got booed because there were so many mexicans and it was a home game for them. That I believe is always crossing the line.

Throwing stuff at players to the point that the riot squad had to cover the player on the sidelines is also crossing the line in my book. You can scream and say what ever you want to try and get under the players skin, its called home field advantage but psychically hurting the player with objects is too much and i say that because im married to a player obviously.

But think how many games are played in a day and how many are ugly like that? Nothing is perfect, you cant control every player, fan, coach etc but 95% of the players like my husband are good people and your son should not be hidden away from people like my husband. He is such a good role model for so many young boys and its a fun game with great activities. For Max if he plays and at any point you arent happy, you have the right to go home but at least let him try and see if he likes it before he never even gets a chance. If you dont want to go to pro games, find girls high school or charity soccer games he can go watch.

I could go on forever, but i am stepping down now!

-h
Cameo said…
My nephew plays soccer and when he's not on the field he literally almost always has a ball between his feet. He's in his 5th season and I can honestly say that only 1 parent in 1 season has been even remotely negative and even then he wasn't a typical "sports dad".

That said, racism doesn't just show itself on a soccer field, as I'm sure you can attest to. I'm half Mexican and my daughter is Guatemalan. I've grown up with more than my fair share of racism.

We still love our soccer.
Cameo said…
Sorry, I forgot to say that you obviously have your right to dislike or have your own opinions about soccer but please know that not all soccer teams/games are ugly like that. Some of them ARE about the game.
Erica said…
Yep i 2nd that!!!!!! That behavior makes me sick on both sides ...USA & Mexico ....for all the soccor players and fans who have real passion they are just making them and thier sport look bad.....Shame on all of you!!!!
GONZO said…
CC I hope that hockey has changed some since you were in living in Canada. Here where I live, and I have coached for 3 years, if a kid even says a bad word let alone a racial or homophobic slur he is done, kicked off the ice right now and wont be back.

That also goes for the stands too. If a parent were acting that way or saying anything raicailly charged there may be a fight, but it would be a fight about who was first to take them out for to kick there butt for saying something so horrible.

There is no fighting in youth hockey around here because it is not tolerated, you fight your done, end of story, and that goes right through college hockey (college your out of that game and 1 more). If you were to read the book I previously mentioned you would see why fighting in the game has its reasons and how it police's the game and protects players.

Just had to stand up for the sport that I love. You also dont see violence in the stands at any NHL game like you may with any international soccer match. It just dont happen.
CancunCanuck said…
Heather- I know there are good role models and not everyone acts that way, I just feel so disappointed in what I witnessed last week (and what I've read about since then about past events, riots, etc). There are so many things I could get Max involved in that don't have the negatives, I'm still not sure about soccer. Though I have calmed down, my anger was through the roof last week!

Cameo- I'm glad to hear that your nephew has had good experiences, and I know most would say the same. For me growing up in theater and dance and the arts, I never experienced anything like what I saw on the soccer field, racism and "machismo" is non-existent in the arts. I really would prefer my son to be an artist I think, not to take anything away from anyone else's choices, but for me it seems a safer way to go.

Erica- (Hi, nice to see you!). Thanks for the support, glad someone doesn't think I am nuts, haha!

Gonzo- I'm happy to hear that things may have changed, I can honestly say that hockey players made my life hell in high school and they relentlessly abused my non-hockey playing brother. Personally I don't think fighting has a place anywhere in this world, I have never hit anyone nor been hit and I hope that Max grows up the same. I know that millions of people love hockey, it just doesn't do it for me and I have always had a bit of anger towards the players because of what I and my brother suffered in school. I clearly remember the teacher who was a hockey coach calling my brother a "fag" and laughing when the players turned his desk upside down and threw his books and papers all over the classroom. Vile behaviour from kids, even worse from the authority figure you hope would stop the behaviour. Just my two cents and experience. :)
Alice said…
We were at the game, and I posted something about our experience wearing USA jerseys. The booing during the anthem, the scary looks people gave us, and the fact that we had to leave early because one guy was yelling that he was going to beat us up.

I got the sense that this was more than a futbol game--these games signify political battles and gives Mexico a chance to wield their political muscle at the US. And to get revenge on 8 years of Bush.
CancunCanuck said…
Alice- Wow, you were brave, lol! I read your tale, I would have been frightened, probably scared enough to change the shirt. It's definitely more than a game between these two teams, politics play a huge role here. (Thanks for commenting, I enjoyed checking out your blog!)

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