We call it soccer, they call it life
Posted by G.A. Matiasz on June 24, 2014
I’ve never been a fan of any kind of organized sports, least of all those heavily invested with corporate money and promotion. Baseball and football in the USA are just excuses for alcohol abuse and bad behavior, decent competitive passions notwithstanding. The same can be said for soccer in the rest of the world, or as people outside America call it, futbol. John Oliver did a grueling, and brilliant, takedown of the umbrella organization running world soccer known as FIFA while at the same time reaffirming his love for the game on his TV program Last Week Tonight.
The ugliness and corruption rampant in FIFA tarnishes the game, and lessens the positive enjoyment of soccer which so many around the world take so much pleasure from watching. Gone also are the days of European soccer hooliganism which threatened to break the game for entirely different reasons. Now, its just a game as your high school gym coach liked to say. Entirely forgotten were the days when soccer was a matter of life and death. In 1941, when Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union, and by extension Ukraine, the occupying Germans made players from the Ukrainian teams Dynamo Kyiv and Lokomotyv Kyiv an offer they didn’t dare refuse. Much historical exegesis, controversy and revisionism has surrounded what has come to be called The Death Match of 1942. Here’s an ESPN video of FC Start, the Ukrainian futbol team that played against the German Flakelf team and won, as well as the price they and Ukraine ultimately paid.