Wednesday, February 28, 2007

All right, I've had enough. I love sports. I'm a big sports fan. I've been to see three Barça games this season and had a good time, and I'm happy to pay what it costs to see a game as a special treat every now and then. In Kansas City, I'm always ready to go to a Royals game, and I'd certainly go to a Chiefs game if tickets were available, which they're not. I'm always in for KU (University of Kansas) football, too, and would be in for basketball if I could get tickets, which I can't.

Well, you know, this season things have gotten a bit ugly here in Europe, as usual. Earlier this season a black French cop shot dead a rioter who was part of a lynch mob that was trying to kill him and a Jewish fan at a Paris Saint-Germain game. Then a police officer was killed in rioting between the Catania and Palermo hooligan gangs in Italy a couple of weeks ago, blown up by a homemade explosive.

Tonight I turned on the TV at 9:30 for the second leg of the Zaragoza-Barcelona tie in the quarterfinals of the Spanish Copa del Rey, the national Cup. Zaragoza led Barça 1-0 going into this match after a very strong game in the first leg; they proved they were a tough team that knew how to stay organized. They're in sixth place in the League out of 20 teams, which is proof that they're well above average. The match should be exciting, right?

Well, it was. Barça beat Zaragoza 1-2 to advance to the semifinals, on goals by two of my favorite players, Xavi Hernández and Andrés Iniesta, Barça's homegrown midfield geniuses. The game got a little rough, one of the Zaragoza players got red-carded, but hell, you can be a good sport and get a bit rough as long as everyone shakes hands afterward, right?

Unfortunately, tonight at the Betis-Sevilla tie, held at Betis's Ruiz de Lopera stadium, somebody threw a bottle out of the stands and cold-cocked Sevilla coach Juande Ramos, a well-known and respected man in Spanish football. Ramos was knocked unconscious. The match was immediately suspended, of course.

Mr. Ramos is OK, fortunately.

This is too much. I know we fans say this all the time, that we are sick of these violent scumbags mixing in with us, but maybe it is time for the clubs to kick the violent scumbag supporters' hooligan squads, like the Boixos Nois, out of the stadiums.

Maybe FC Barcelona, since we're all peace and love and understanding and contribute to Unicef and all, should be the very first club to kick the hooligan squad out. Ban the Boixos Nois from the stadium. Then let's see if the other clubs follow our example.

I'm less interested in football than I was earlier today. I don't know if I can explain it, but you know, it just doesn't seem worth it if people are getting hurt.

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