Would love to see soccer stop the flop… and other notes


Not the world’s biggest soccer fan, but Euro 2020 featured a month of compelling storylines and immense talent, concluding with Italy’s penalty kick win over host England in the championship clash.

Many of the world’s greats shined on the big stage. There’s much to admire, beginning with the impressive conditioning.

Midfielders, in particular, look like they can run all day.

When played at a high level, soccer can be a mesmerizing sport.

But Euro 2020 also featured an ugly side.

There were dives that would make Greg Louganis proud.

There was acting that would bring a smile from Benedict Cumberbatch.

There was flopping that would rival a barrel of fish thrown on a boat deck.

At times, it got ridiculous. A player would hit the ground in agony, grabbing his ankle, and wailing in pain. Forget the stretcher. Prepare the morgue. Then a replay would be shown. The player, more often than not, was barely clipped.

It was all a show, a contrived act to get a call from a referee. With so little scoring in soccer, every advantage is crucial. And the players know it.

Not sure the players realize one thing: These games are televised, with cameras everywhere, not some high school pitch in the middle of nowhere with six fans and no media coverage. At times it was comical, the blatant embellishment hard to believe.

Soccer can be a beautiful sport to watch. Too often that beauty is obscured by embellishment and deliberate attempts to waste time when one team is ahead and precious seconds are ticking away.

Imagine the heights soccer could reach if so many players wouldn’t flop on the ground after being barely breathed on.

National stage

Westford sisters Morgan and Molly Smith were unable to make the cut this week at the U.S. Girls Junior at Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Md.

Teeing it up against the top young players in the country and globe, the Smiths weren’t able to advance. The Round of 32 did not feature a single player from New England.

Morgan Smith, who will be a Westford Academy senior in the fall, shot rounds of 81 and 78. Molly Smith, a soon to be WA junior, registered scores of 83 and 83 on the par 70 layout. Molly actually recorded three birdies to Morgan’s two, but the younger Smith had a couple of painful holes she couldn’t recover from.

The Smiths recently teed it up at the Lowell City Tournament.

Here and there

Still not sure Bruins general manager Don Sweeney is an astute drafter. But he does a great job at the negotiation table. The Bruins re-signed defenseman Brandon Carlo to a six-year deal with an annual cap hit of $4.1 million. He’s the latest Boston skater to sign a team-friendly deal, following in the footsteps of Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy. … UMass Lowell hockey players are back on campus. One player head coach Norm Bazin doesn’t worry about when it comes to fitness is senior forward Lucas Condotta. The 6-foot-2, 209-pound Ontario native has broken about every program fitness record, according to Bazin. … The Bryson DeChambeau-Brooks Koepka feud is great for golf. Sports need more rivalries. … Alex Cora deserves to be scrutinized for bending the rules. But the man can manage people, the No. 1 criteria for being a Major League Baseball manager. … Football is the top sport in the country, and the Patriots remain king in these parts, but it’s still jarring to hear both of Boston’s sports radio stations obsess about Tom Brady in the middle of July. … Sad to hear of the passing of legendary Bedford High coach Armand Sabourin after a long period of declining health. Sabourin, 83, was a member of five Hall of Fames, including Bedford High’s. Most known for coaching the football team from 1968-99, he also coached the Buccaneers in baseball for several years. In 2013, Bedford’s football field was named in his honor.

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