The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat

Have you ever seen an athlete score a game-winning goal (or run, or touchdown, or basket) and then break down in tears of anguish? It happened today in a soccer match between Italy and Bulgaria at the European Championship tournament. Italy’s Antonio Cassano scored the winning goal in the dying moments of the match. He then ran to sideline in ecstasy only to learn that, minutes earlier, Sweden had tied its match with Denmark, thus eliminating Italy from the competition. Cassano then lost it, as did most of his teammates.
HINDROCKET adds: I dunno, Deacon. I mean, if the guy scored from first on a double and slid in under the tag, and jumped up pumping his fist, and downed a brew or two in the clubhouse, only to find that his efforts were for naught, yes, I can see the tragedy. But somehow, learning that “Sweden had tied its match with Denmark” seems a bit…anticlimactic. Only in soccer do athletes burst into tears over another team’s tie. But, hey, for those who understand it, I’m sure it’s a really great sport!
DEACON responds: Well, one of the first things I ever read about soccer was when the Italians were eliminated in the preliminary stages of the 1966 World Cup by North Korea. The team tried to sneak back into Italy at an obscure northern outpost at 3:00 a.m. But people got wind of it and were there to pelt them with fruits and vegetables upon their entry. Maybe that’s why the players were crying today.

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