Soccer Struggles With Too Much Emotion

Soccer Struggles With Too Much Emotion

In soccer, fury has become part of the job. This sport celebrates coaches with short tempers — step forward Alex Ferguson. It idolizes angry players — think Roy Keane — and hails their on-field aggression and occasional brutality as demonstrations of "commitment" and "leadership." It tolerates the idea that fans have a right to be angry in defeat, although it sometimes draws the line when they rip out their seats and pelt players with coins.

 

In short, professional soccer hasn't been a mere "game" for decades, perhaps ever. It is awash with, thrives on, expects and openly encourages raw emotion and hot flushes of anger. In other industries, Ferguson's "hairdryer" outbursts of frustration or kicking a boot in rage at David Beckham might have landed the Manchester United boss in seriously hot water with his employers or a labor inspector. In soccer, using ill temper as a management tool has earned Ferguson fame and respect. The 71-year-old seeing red is charitably viewed as proof of his enduring "passion."

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