In college, I wrote a paper on violence in sports. It was for one of my sport “theory” classes (Sport Psychology, Principles of Coaching, I don’t quite remember) but in the paper, I discussed parents gone wild, the jail in the old Veterans Stadium for unruly fans, hockey goons and soccer hooligans. Players against players, fans against fans, fans against players; it’s a never ending battle. According to reports yesterday, an Iraqi player was shot dead on the field as he was about to kick what could’ve been a game tying goal. In most of the world, football is life. I’m not condoning the senseless murder at all, but this was coming, at some point at some stadium. The Iraqi national team doesn’t even live or practice in Iraq for security reasons. Is this just Iraq’s problem? I don’t think so.
I’ll be rooting for Nigeria and Jamaica as well as my adopted nations of Italy, Brazil and Argentina in the World Cup 2010. South Africa will host. I wonder what sort of security measures they will implement. With the world watching, will everyone be on their best behavior or is the world stage the time to act out or “make a statement”? In Beijing this past summer, there are folks who never made it home when all they wanted to do was witness dramatic Olympic moments. Those unfortunate deaths weren’t the work of terrorists, neither was the incident in Iraq. In recent years, focus has been on thwarting terrorism and rightly so, but we can’t forget the passionate, enraged little guy who can cause big problems.