Posted by: As I See It by Arnie | July 30, 2007

What? Iraqi’s play soccer?

Now, wait a minute here. Where do the Iraqi’s get the time to play soccer? Where do they practice? There can’t be a level field anywhere within the country with all of those ied’s going off everywhere. Where did they find 20 youthful athletic young men with the desire to run around chasing and kicking a ball? Is Hollywood involved here and making a new movie? Something just don’t jive.

But there it was, on my local TV news broadcast, a clip about the Iraq soccer team winning the Asian Cup in soccer by beating out Saudi Arabia 1-0. This really caught my attention, as it was so unusual to hear of sports news in Iraq. Sports in Iraq?


These guys appear to be happy. Look at those legs and how muscular they are. Another picture showed the town folks waving the Iraq flag as the entire town came out of hiding to the streets of Baghdad to celebrate together this win of some sports trophy from Indonesia.

This is NEWS.

For four years now, day after day, the local TV or radio station has broadcast the latest body count of US service personnel being killed or injured during an explosion or incident of some kind in Iraq. Day after day. Week after week. Adding the totals together. Keeping the count in front of us as a reminder that our volunteer brave and selfless men and women are away from their families and friends in a foreign country waging a war against a group of “freedom fighters, insurgents, and discontents.”

And now, all of a sudden we see another picture of Iraq.

I’m confused.

“Those heroes have shown the real Iraq. They have done something useful for the people as opposed to the politicians and lawmakers who are stealing or killing each other,” said Sabah Shaiyal, a 43-year-old policeman in Baghdad. “The players have made us proud, not the greedy politicians. Once again, our national team has shown that there is only one, united Iraq.”

There is hope for Iraq. Send the Iraq kids soccer balls and build their field of dreams.

That’s another reason why I like baseball so much. All of the political bickering is lost on the field where the rules are followed, are obeyed, honored and respected by all of the participants, AND the spectators. The best effort by one of the teams goes home with the ‘W”. The best effort by one of the teams will go home with the Series trophy and the coveted “ring” at the end of the season. And there will not be any of the gun-fire, street protests or car bombings because a most favored team had a bad night. After the winter break, these same teams will come together for another try at beating each other. Sports, a national unifier.

And then there is that oldest of sports, a gentlemen’s game called golf. The rules of golf require that the player call a violation of a rule on him/herself and take the penalty, adding a stroke or two to the score, or even disqualifying oneself from the tournament. Sports, peaceful solutions honored and obeyed.

Politics would be a lot more fun if they would simply follow the rules of decency, open dialogue and debate respecting each other, honoring the rule of law as set forth in our constitution, and obeying the separation of powers formula, also enumerated in the constitution.   But the love of power has won over the rules of decency, honor and respect.  “For the love of money is the root of all evil…”  I Tim: 6, 10

As I see It.


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