Yellow Card, Red Card. Life Gets Less HardPosted: June 19, 2014
Like so many of us here in the United States, I know so little about soccer. I’m not even sure why our country is the only one which calls the game soccer. Sure, we have a completely different game that we call football, but perhaps we could have compromised on this name thing since all the other cool kids have settled on what to call the sport.
Despite our indifference to the sport at any other time, the nation becomes obsessed with soccer when the World Cup tournament starts. We really have no idea if cutting Landon Donovan hurt or helped the US team. The truth is that most of us forgot he existed after the last World Cup. For all we know, the man has a pirate style peg leg now and is no longer much of a ummmmm…whatever position he played. But during this period where soccer is in fashion, we’ll debate such matters as if we had the knowledge to do so.
I find myself thinking more about the game, even as I laugh at us for our quadrennial interest in it. I’ve advocated that we adapt soccer’s tradition of exchanging jerseys with an opponent after a match so we can use it in every day life . What better way to let someone know you appreciate their efforts than by giving them your shirt and wearing theirs around?
And that’s not the only idea I’m taking from soccer.
Closed Captioning Provided For The Spanish Impaired
Yesterday, I ate lunch in a restaurant. There was a World Cup game on, with the sound off. Having the sound off allowed diners like me to read about what was happening on the field, in Spanish.
As I watched the action, I saw a player in a yellow jersey get mildly jostled by a player wearing blue. The player in yellow fell down like he’d been shot and began screaming in faux agony. Not to be outdone, the player in blue dropped to the turf and simulated a trauma induced seizure. The referee ran up, assessed the situation and announced his ruling on the matter by showing the player in blue a yellow card.
As soon as the yellow card was shown, both players got up and ran away. The referee paused to write his feelings about what he saw in a notebook, then refocused on the game.
Being shown a yellow card let that player know he had committed a somewhat moderate offense. The referee had the option of showing the player a red card. A red card means that, in the referee’s opinion, a player has sinned to an alarming extent. If a soccer player gets a red card, he must leave the field and reassess his direction in life.
Adapt To Overcome
This red/yellow card system seems like something I can use to address those that offend me. A yellow card seems just about right for that woman who cut me off in traffic the other day, or that guy who blocked the grocery aisle while he compared the merits of name brand vs. store brand fig newtons. I’m pretty certain that getting a yellow card from me will lead to a sheepish apology and a behavior change by the offender.
A red card would be for people whose offenses so offend the sensibilities of the average person (and who is more average than me?) that I must insist that, like the footballer, they step aside and reconsider the course of their life. I envision red carding those who enter the 12 items or less aisle at the check out with thirty items, those who force me to yellow card them several times in a day, parents who give their children ridiculous names and anyone with the surname Kardashian.
The card system will help me too. I’m considering carrying a notebook and writing down my feelings about what I see, just like a soccer referee. I won’t show what I write to anyone because, like a soccer ref, they’d be my private thoughts for use in my journey to becoming a more complete person.
The card system will allow me (and you, as the idea spreads) to very subtly say to people who need to hear it “I saw what you did”. I foresee most people who get carded undergoing a period of self-reflection in accordance with the shade of card they get and emerging from the encounter a better citizen.
This system is the World Cup’s chance to change the world. Let’s not miss the opportunity “The Beautiful Game” is giving us.