Saturday, July 3, 2010

Legally Robbed

Sometimes in life it is not the fact of losing, it is the way in which you lose. And sometimes, perhaps all too often, a game can mean more to us than a game.

I have been around long enough to stoically accept that annual rite of spring, the ejection of my beloved Vancouver Canucks from the NHL festivities is akin to glimpsing the first dandelion. Like stubbing your toe, it hurts for a minute or two, but I always end up shrugging my shoulders and saying "we'll get 'em next year!".

And so it was on this day that a continent came together behind one side. A unity unique, particular to African football alone, borne of common struggle and suffering.

And what they saw on the operatic pitch was a travesty with a denouement all too familiar to African eyes. A cheat legally rewarded for his treachery.

Now make no mistake, the fact that Mr. Suarez used his hand to block a sure goal for Ghana in the waning seconds of overtime was the right move for his side. The World Cup is about winning and not about sportsmanship, but surely the referee should be granted the power to award a goal when a hand is used to stop a certain score.

As for Mr. Gyan, the gallant warrior for Ghana and the very picture of despair after he missed the penalty that was awarded, I hope he takes solace in the fact without his presence it is unlikely that Ghana would have been playing today.

If I learned anything from the people I met in Ghana it was about resiliency, respect and dignity in the face of adversity, and I hope those folks take pride in the fact that the Black Stars embodied those values on the pitch in this World Cup.

Despite my inclination to wallow, I'm trying to let this one go. Wallowing is a luxury of the spoiled, and I know that the people I met in Ghana don't have time to wallow, and despite my kvetching, I cannot feel this in the same way as a citizen of Ghana (or Africa, for that matter) might. I'm just a barnacle on their bandwagon.

Having said that, I wish I could shrug my shoulders and say "we'll get 'em next time!". But I can't.

At least, not just yet.