The beautiful game

If there was any doubt as to the profound lessons that sport can teach – no more was it more evident than in today’s Euro2008 Soccer match between Turkey and Croatia.

After suffering arguably one of the most heart-wrenching losses of their sporting lives – a most remarkable scene occurred between some of the disconsolate Croatian players and Turkish goalie Rustu Recber.

Having let victory slip agonizingly through their fingers in the dying moments of the second extra time and completely shattered from losing in a thrilling penalty shootout – a few of the inconsolable Croatian players wept openly as the full weight of their country’s hopes came crashing down upon them.

Ironically, in the midst of their despair appeared the very person who had just crushed their dream of advancing to next round, Turkish goalie Rustu Recber. In an inspirational display of empathy unmatched in any sporting event in recent history, Recber walked up to and warmly embraced as many devastated Croatian players he could find.

While most of his buddies were deliriously celebrating the joy of sudden victory – Recber chose to try and alleviate the suffering of those who – but for the grace of the soccer gods – could have been his own teammates.

In a sport that has seen its share of fan and player violence but has also been called ‘the beautiful game’ what a refreshing moment to witness and savor.

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One Comment on “The beautiful game”

  1. dougpete says:

    What a great observation, Mike. This is a sport where that type of sportsmanship seldom goes noticed. A normal soccer report includes riots or images of someone writhing on the ground as the result of a check. I’ve never been one to totally understand the passion that goes with soccer globally but that is a minority position. I hope that the action that you described made the highlight reel of the sports channels. We need good news stories like that.


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