I’m Irish. OK, I don’t sport any shamrock tattoos, and you have to go back to my great, great grandmother to find a relative who was born on the Emerald Isle. But like every Irish-Catholic native of the Bronx with some semblance of ancestral pride, I was plenty peeved about the astounding screwing the Irish soccer team received this week during their World Cup qualifying match against France, when French “superstar” Thierry Henry illegally used his left hand to corral a ball before passing it onto a teammate for the goal that sent France to the World Cup, and the underdog Irishmen home.
But please, everyone, stop calling for a do-over. That goes for you, Thierry Henry, who on Friday said a replay of the match would be the fairest way to rectify this situation. It also goes for you, Irish soccer association, and all you heartbroken, angry Irish folk from County Mayo to Connaughton’s Steakhouse in the Bronx. And it definitely goes for you, knee-jerk anti-French wise guys who still think it’s hip to rip the French six years after Freedom Fries were neither hip nor funny. Do-overs belong in the fifth-grade schoolyard. A rematch for a global event like the World Cup could set a disastrous precedent for sports in general.
All athletes make snap decisions to skirt the rules in high-pressure situations.