Let me start by saying that I am a sports fan and while soccer is not my favourite sport I do enjoy watching on occasion. In fact I was looking forward to some of the action at the World Cup being held this year in South Africa. Having watched parts of a number of games while riding the exercise bike or when I need a break from reading I have come to a few conclusions and drawn some training points in the event you are prone to watch:
- The players have a tremendous level of fitness.
- The players have great skills.
- The players have dedicated their lives to the sport and spent thousands of hours training and practicing.
- Based on the players actions in every game the World Cup could very well be renamed the Whiners Cup.
Now for those of you who read this blog and happen to be die hard soccer fans you may be offended by the last statement. Sorry, but you need to get over it. You can watch countless videos of officer involved shootings and other violent encounters and will not see as many people who look like they have been shot with a high powered rifle round as you will in a single game at the World Cup.
If you are not familiar with the sport of soccer you might be confused briefly as you watch player after player fall to the ground with a look of excruciating pain on their face, writhe on the ground in apparent agony, then pop back to their feet and get back in the play once they have looked to see if the ref was paying attention. As I watch these games I wonder why professional soccer players seem to have the need to embellish almost every check and every incident of body on body contact?
My advice to the players:
- Stop whining.
- Stop faking to try and get an advantage. Then if you truly are hurt maybe people will believe it.
- Play the game the way you are capable of.
My advice to law enforcement trainers:
- Have your role players watch these games and learn some acting skills for when they are wearing padded gear, playing the role of the subject and are on the receiving end of strikes, kicks or shots with non lethal training ammunition.
- Have your officers watch these games to pay attention to the skill level, fitness level and commitment to the game of these athletes that allowed them to get to this level and learn from that.
- Then have them pay attention to the theatrics of these gifted athletes as an example of how not to respond to physical contact.
- Lastly have them listen to stories of Marcus Young, Stacy Lim and so many other officers who got shot and stayed focused and stayed in the fight. If they had dropped and flopped like players at the World Cup they may not be alive today. Use these officers as role models of commitment to training, commitment to winning and how officers can respond to violent assaults and serious injury.
- If they need a sports example find footage of Hall of Fame Football player Walter Payton when he played for the Chicago Bears. His attitude was that no matter how hard an opponent hit you jump back to your feet and run back to the huddle. Never let an opponent know they hurt you. Walter would be proud of Marcus, Stacy and so many other law enforcement professionals who embody that philosophy.