Where to start? If you follow me on Twitter or we’re friends on Facebook, you saw my tweets and posts during today’s soon-to-be-classic World Cup quarterfinal matchup between Ghana and Uruguay. And if you know me, you know that I do not have a mild, detached interest when it comes to sports, especially teams I get behind. My ebbs and flows are peaks and valleys. I traffic in hyperbole as I experience a game. As someone who has loved Ghana since I was young, and always support Africa in international competition, today’s loss after the success they had achieved in this World Cup, and the fight they fought until the closing moments of the second overtime period, was not just disappointing to me. It was tragic. It was utterly devastating and a failure of epic proportions when they were clearly given a huge gift and on the verge of winning. I’m not Ghanaian, nor do I have any ties to Ghana. But my heart and soul was with them. And like every team I’ve ever put my heart and soul behind, today Ghana failed at the most crucial of moments.
Now, as I’ve mentioned, I’ve been there before. I’ve been a fan of the Chicago Cubs my entire life. Need I say more? When it comes to tragic, epic and utterly devastating failure, what else comes to mind but the Cubs?
So here I propose: Is Luis Suarez, the hero for Uruguay, the Steve Bartman of the 2010 World Cup? If you’ve been lucky enough in your life blissfully ignorant of who Steve Bartman is, I’ll point you to Wikipedia. Now take a look for yourself:
Here are my comparisons of the two situations, both sparked by handballs.
2003 NLCS, Game 6, Chicago Cubs vs Florida Marlins: Steve Bartman’s interference with a foul ball in the top of the 8th with one out allowed the Marlins to keep the inning alive. Despite his “heroics” for the Marlins that allowed them to draw a walk, the Cubs were just 5 outs away from the World Series and were handed a prime chance to turn a double play and end the inning when a ground ball was hit to Cubs shortstop Alex Gonzales. Instead, Gonzales made a costly error, allowing the bases to load and the inning to continue. The Marlins went on to score 7 runs in the inning, win the game and the following game and advance to the World Series. Bartman was kicked out of the stadium, a hero and a goat.
2010 World Cup Quarterfinals, Ghana v Uruguay: Luis Suarez’s interference with a goal in the closing seconds of overtime allowed Uruguay to keep the game alive. Despite his “heroic” handball that earned him a red card, Ghana still had a prime chance to win the game on the resulting penalty kick, seconds away from the World Cup semifinals, when Asamoah Gyan made a costly mistake, shooting the sure game-winner off the crossbar. Uruguay went on to make 4 penalty kicks in the resulting PK shootout, while Ghana missed two, and Uruguay advanced to the semifinals. Suarez was kicked out of the game, a hero and a goat.
Sure, it’s not exact, but close enough to warrant comparison for a fan of both teams. Both were seemingly robbed of sure wins by flagrant handballs. What do you think? Is this just the crazy ramblings of an insane sports fan? Or do I have something here?
And now, to top it off – just in case you weren’t following my expressions of joy and sorrow today – here’s a Tweetcap of my experience of the game. Usually my “Tweetcaps” are just based on my Twitter posts, but in this case I’ll combine with Facebook posts, as I posted some reactions separately there.
3:03pm: AWWWWWWWWWWWWW, so close! Keep at ’em #GHA!
3:20pm: GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL #GHA!!!!!
3:20pm: THAT was beautiful. #gha
3:21pm: #GHA takes the lead just seconds before halftime! Clutch!
3:24pm: Filthy. RT @flytip: That goal was sick. Anybody wanna take a guess at how fast that ball was kicked? 90+ mph slider?
3:26pm: *happydance* #gha
3:42pm: Now this is advertising I approve of. http://ow.ly/i/2nSf
3:45pm: Crap. [URU scores to equalize, 1-1]
4:13pm: If Ghana were playing American football, that kick would have split the uprights.
4:30pm: Can Ghana pull out another miracle OT goal? We can only pray!
4:40pm: These Uruguayans are making me MAD!!
4:59pm: I’m seriously going out of my mind right now. #gha
5:04pm: Dying. Dying. Dying.
[Just at the exact moment of the Suarez handball, futbol.univision.com froze and when it came back it was behind the live broadcast. I didn’t get back to real-time until I was able to get the game on the TV in our conference room, just in time for the second missed PK by Ghana. This is why I didn’t post while watching the PKs.]
5:18pm: Please excuse me while I go slit my writs. #gha
5:20pm: RT @flytip: What a douchebag penalty kick.
5:25pm: This is up there in terms of epic disappointment from teams I root for. RT @illini3sc: And I thought the Bartman game was gut-wrenching
5:59pm: Thanks to everyone who put up with my Ghana stream today. Now I’m going home to cry and drink.
6:01pm: That’s it. I’m just quitting sports. I put my heart and soul into it and it just chews me up, spits me out and laughs at me every time.
6:04pm: Who am I kidding with this quitting sports nonsense? Next time I just have to root against the team I want to win. It works that way, right?
6:08pm: I should have known when I left my iPhone at home today that this day would end miserably. Nothing good comes of being iPhoneless.