For David Beckham, actions speak louder than boos
It seemed like any other international sporting event. Beers flowed, and barbeques sizzled, in the car park pre-match.
Kids mimicked their on-field heroes, with the names of superstars Messi and Henry on the back of their pint sized shirts. In all, 93,137 fans turned up at LA’s Rose Bowl overnight — the most-highly attended match in the United States since the 1994 World Cup.
No matter your colours, most supporters were frothing with anticipation to see one of the world’s biggest football franchises FC Barcelona, who had come to town for an exhibition clash against David Beckham and the LA Galaxy. But on this balmy night, we received proof positive that fans here are fair weather supporters.
Of the ultimate kind. Amid the cheers, there were as many jeers, and the cross hairs were aimed at one target, David Beckham.
The superstar was booed virtually every time he touched the ball. The source of the fans angst was that Beckham missed a significant chunk of his team’s season after choosing to test himself in a better league. To them, his loan to A.C. Milan showed a lack of commitment to the game in America.
Forgetting, of course, that Beckham’s sheer presence has delivered for millions of dollars in sponsorship and advertising revenue to a sport struggling to find its place in a cluttered calendar Stateside.
So for the past three weeks, Galaxy followers have dished up a reception cooler than what greeted the Spice Girls’ flop comeback single ‘Headlines’. How could it not prick his pride? You couldn’t blame Becks if he decided to pack up Posh and the brood and take his right boot elsewhere.
But here’s the kicker. A true mark of LA fans’ lip flop status came in the final minute of the first half when Beckham bended it, like only he can. A 26-yard free kick that curled into the upper left corner of the net.
The echo of boos was overtaken by a chorus of cheers.
After that, much of the focus of the match still remained on Becks – but all the angst had melted away.
He strutted off the pitch bare-chested at half time, having surrendered his shirt to Brazilian international defender Dani Alves, and left with a wry smile as he was substituted in the 87th minute.
I just don’t get you, LA.
This from a sporting public who cheered Manny Ramirez, the Dodgers slugger who missed a significant chunk of his team’s season after being banned for using performance enhancing drug. Yet they boo Beckham. Then again, this is from a state which elected a movie star as Governor.
My question: is it ever OK to boo someone from your own team?
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