Martinique Women’s Soccer Team…

Sometimes, you really do need that last 20%… After the break…

Martinique Women’s Soccer Team…

If you do not already know, there are differences between football and soccer (or, as the metric part of the world knows it, “American football” and “football”).

Take, for instance, scoring.

In American football, there are two primary ways of scoring: The “touchdown” (where a team passes or runs a ball into the end zone) and the “field goal” (when a team kicks a ball through the two yellow upright posts at either end of the field). A touchdown is, surprisingly for many who do not follow the game, only 6 points; The 7th point is called the “extra point” and that is sort of like a field goal in that it is just like a field goal except it is worth only 1 point and can only be kicked after a touchdown. A field goal, when it is not after a touchdown, is 3 points. For a majority of games, these are the only two ways of scoring in an American football game… But not the only way. There are two more, somewhat uncommon ways, of scoring.

There is, for instance, the “2-point conversion,” which was added a few years back to make the game more exciting and strategic. If the 1-point extra point is just like a field goal except only after a touchdown, then the 2-point conversion is like scoring a conventional touchdown… After scoring a touchdown. It is the players making an attempt to run or pass the ball in order to get it into the end zone as opposed to kicking it through the yellow upright posts. Also, there is the 2-point “safety.” A safety was traditionally when the defending team sacks the quarterback while the quarterback is backed up all of the way into his own end zone. Over the years, the rules have made safeties a bit more likely by broadening the definition of what is or isn’t a safety but, in an entire season of American football, you will not find a lot of safeties being made.

So, you have the 7-point conventional touchdown, the 3-point field goal, the 8-point touchdown (the one with the 2-point conversion substituting for the extra point kick) and the 2-point safety.

In American football, it is not uncommon to see scores such as 28-14 or 13-10. These may seem like impressive scores but, really, the losing team only tends to lose by 2 or less “possessions” (a possession figuring that could yield a maximum of 8 points). A ‘blow-out,’ where one team dominates the other team entirely, thoroughly, completely, without any doubt in anyone’s mind, would be a score of something like, 56-7. That’s a whopper; That’s a six possession loss; The losing team would have had to score an 8-point touchdown 6 times and they still would have lost the game.

Now compare all of that to soccer (aka “football”). In soccer, there is only one way to score points: Kick or otherwise thrust the ball into the opposing team’s goal. And for that goal you get precisely 1 point. In soccer, you would typically see scores like 1-0 or 2-1 or 3-1. Or, quite frequently, you would see a tie game such as 1-1 or 2-2.

Soccer is not known for having ‘blow-outs’ like American football. It is rare to see soccer games between seemingly competitive teams be 4-1 or 5-1 or 6-0. You might see such game scores at the middle or high school level where two wildly uneven teams are playing. But to see a soccer game played by two professional teams end in a score such as 6-1 is not very common…

Unless you are the poor Martinique Women’s Soccer Team… Who just played 3 games in the CONCACAF Women’s Football Championship and lost those three games by a combined score of 22-1.

Ouch.

That would be like an American football team losing three games by a combined total of 154-7. To put that into perspective, the Oakland Raiders, regarded presently as the American football team least likely to be considered the best team in American football, has lost their worst three games (not three consecutive games, just their worst losses for the season) by a combined score of 92-41.

But I am not writing this to scorn them. I am not writing this to belittle or otherwise insult them. To paraphrase what the famous actor and director Woody Allen once remarked, “80% of success is merely showing up.”

Martinique was destined to lose the tournament regardless of the outcome because Martinique is not really a country but a part of France (which is, as many many many people know, a country and a rather famous and prominent one at that). It is a part of France in much the same way as the island chain known as “Hawai’i” is a part of the United States. So why was a team that had no legal chance of winning the CONCACAF tournament even there? It doesn’t matter. Martinique showed up. They showed up and even though they got sorely beaten (one of the games ended in a 10-0 loss), they won merely by showing up and playing the game. Yes, they won that spot in the tournament through an earlier tournament but they still showed up and they still played.

I don’t particular care to watch soccer. I am glad, though, to have watched parts of the CONCACAF Women’s Tournament involving the Martinique Women’s Soccer Team. They may have lost all three games by an unhealthy margin but at least they showed up to lose. When we bat around words such as “sportsmanship” and “courage,” let us remind ourselves that those words should include those teams such as the Martinique Women’s Soccer Team.

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