Padecky: On World Cup stage, they are merely actors (w/video)

  • Netherlands' Arjen Robben goes down under a challenge from Argentina's Martin Demichelis during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between the Netherlands and Argentina at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo Brazil, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Some people call it flopping. Others call it diving. Still others call it the theater of the absurd, what the soccer players are doing at the World Cup after they hit the ground. Myself, I don’t think the divas, uh, players, go far enough. The YouTube videos could be far more dramatic. Just equip each player with a microphone.

“I can’t feel my toes! I think I see my right hand on the ground all by itself, twitching. What madness caused this?”

And then in the fine tradition first established by professional wrestlers, the player rises to his feet to chase the ball, only to fall to the ground after tripping over a peanut shell.

And I thought Tom Hanks was a great actor.

And the Oscar at the World Cup — there can be no question of this — goes to Uruguay’s Luis Suarez, who, after biting an Italian player, sat on the ground, holding his mouth, grimacing as if a dentist just extracted his molars with a pair of pliers.

“To do that right in front of millions of people,” said Pat McDonald, coach on the Montgomery girls soccer team, “to have the psychology to do that, it’s unbelievable.”

There has been much competition for the Oscar.

In this World Cup, there has been more finger-pointing than a cop directing traffic, more crying than the first-day drop-off at kindergarten and more facial anguish than anyone who has walked barefoot over hot coals.

Much to the chagrin of a soccer purist, flopping has grabbed as much of the World Cup conversation as the exceptional skill moments in the game themselves.

It is due in large part to the nature of the act — screaming, grimacing, writhing tend to attract attention. Such histrionics carry an influence.

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