Saturday, April 26, 2008

Squabble over a Soccer Souvenir

A court dispute over a used sweaty soccer shirt sounds ridiculous and so inconsequential. But not so if it came from David Beckham. The initial squabble over the after game souvenir that was intended by Beckham as a promotional effort, is turning into a potential legal battle following a tug-of-war between two contesting parties. The Los Angeles Galaxy Soccer Team may witness the effort turning into a surrealist nightmare.

Galaxy had just lost the game to Japan's Gamba Osaka in the Pan Pacific Championship. David Beckham took off his shirt, approached the stands and reached on top of a sign to hand over his game used jersey to two boys; who, it turns out, are close friends and teammates on a soccer team. The boys started grabbing at the shirt when their parents joined in the fray. At this point, the situation became spiteful with both sets of parents screaming, clawing, and hurling threats of legal action against one another. This may end the friendship of two young boys who might start kicking each other during practice.

According to Wilfred and Yoshica Ho, their 9 year old son had first possession, such that a policeman approached to settle the scuffle, take the shirt and hand it over to their son. Mr. and Mrs. Eric Kerr, on the other hand said that their 10 year old son held a sign throughout the game that eventually lured Beckham over. They said Beckham even pointed to their son as the intended recipient. Lawyers of both families have exchanged legal letters and the jersey will be on its way to court - still unwashed.

Beckham wanted the fans to get a kick out of the gesture, now the entire team could get a figurative kick in the face because of it. Soccer is undoubtedly one of the most popular sports in the world, and David Beckham is its current undisputed superstar. A hair from his leg, or from some other part of his body could probably fetch a fortune; even more so with a jersey used in a game - despite failing to win. Sports inspire a competitive spirit under rules of fair competition. It bonds a team with discipline, honor, and commitment. It does not dissolve these virtues because of a souvenir. This is dragging the value of sports into its basest material level, a level young kids must not imbibe if the virtues of sportsmanship, not materialism, is to take root.

It is the adults, the parents, who consciously or unconsciously inject this materialism in their own kids and who would later wonder why their children are without the values and virtues of their culture. But they do. The child's keen sense of perception can spot the hypocrisy between the words and subtle communication that their parents express. The jersey itself has no value. It can be reproduced by the thousands in Asia's counterfeit factories with Beckham's still blotting signature on it. It is the symbol of being used by a superstar and the potential value that adults have attached to such material items, that elevates its importance as a potential fortune. This is what confuses the kids in the choice between idealism and materialism.

A Solomonic decision has been suggested by the Los Angeles Galaxy team to cut the jersey in half, but it will most likely fall on deaf ears. The court case will definitely sever all ties between the families, and the young boys' soccer team may never be the same after this sordid affair. Thanks to the adults and the bright legal minds that interfere in the affairs of children and impose their own distorted sense of values on the dispute. The breaking up of relationships and the trigger that caused it will return to haunt them at some point, it always does. All these for a used jersey that probably reeks of body odor, the judge would want it burned and done away with.



Zhu said...

That's kinda of sad for the kids... who would have gotten over it if the parents weren't that stubborn!

I see it happening during hockey games sometimes, where people fight for lost pucks.

Tommy said...

The easiest answer would probably be for sir David to pony up two shirts and have the Court return the used one. Neither family, based on their haste to get all legal, deserve the original. The kids would benefit from still obtaining a valuable commodity and also benefit from the idea that their parents' are drips and took the wrong road....Kids are smart. They can settle in on the idea that they got something new and not used and their parents basically sought legal action and acted younger than they for something sweaty and dirty....Pathetic really, but then again....not terribly surprising!


The Fitness Diva said...

Tommy's solution is a good one. I'm surprised Becks hasn't already stepped in and offered another jersey to put an end to this thing, although it really is not his fault that they took it to this extent.

Welcome to the era of the sports mom/dad, who yells, taunts other children, screams when their kid doesn't get enough playing time on the field, and fights with other parents and referees at kids' sporting events.
These folks that were at this soccer event are the prototype of such parents.

And you're right about the greed factor. Instead of seeing it as a piece of treasured sports memorabilia, they're probably instead contemplating how much they could get for selling it on Ebay.

People are just really at their ugliest these days, and when the kids grow up to be selfish, mean, violent, and as ugly in th0ught and deed as their parents, one can only say "I'm not surprised".

SheR. said...

Over A T shirt?? That's unbelievable. But it reminds me of those big sales in departmental stores where pretty ladies clawed at each other to get that discounted blouse. Not a very nice sight. But heaven knows what's in the minds of these money grubbers?

Maybe David Beckham should consider handing every single strand of his leg hair to his fans? That'll please a lot of people!!!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Zhu,

The parents are definitely sending the wrong signals to their children. In effect, they are more childish than the kids.

To let it get to this point is irresponsible. The kids could have solved the problem themselves. :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Tommy,

I agree that it's no longer surprising, but a continuous stream of actions like these will give us grown-ups with even worse traits than their parents in the future!

I would subscribe to your suggestion of Beckham giving 2 new shirts in exchange for the used one. It will certainly teach the parents a lesson and they would know that the kids will realize the insanity of their behavior. :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Fitness Diva,

I have seen parents in school sporting events act in the manner which you describe, and it appalling!

Think of what they learn in school with how these are applied by their own parents at home. The confusion with what is thought and what is seen as "acceptable" behavior because people tolerate it by not being surprised creates an ambivalent education.

The "real world" is what they see and this contributes to their lack of motivation to study. What for? These things don't matter in the real world! Can we be surprised at the decline in the quality of high school students and its ever decreasing graduates? I guess not. :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Sher,

Yes that suggestion of yours would make the fans happy. However, violent objections may be forthcoming from his wife Victoria, of the Spice Girls fame. :-) -- Durano, done!