The Girls Are Tougher Than the Boys
One of the most common complaints from people who criticize soccer is that players are too theatric when it comes to getting fouled. In all honesty, sometimes it seems like every single soccer player in the world went to the LeBron James Ref-He-Just-Stepped-Inside-My-Imaginary-Golden-Circle-Why-Isn’t-That-A-Foul School of Acting. As someone who practiced soccer every single day for about 15 years, I have to agree that some players are just trying way too hard.   
And he plays for my favorite team. (¡Hala Madrid!)
Now, just because players tend to be a little exaggerated with their hand and facial expressions that doesn’t mean it’s not warranted. If you think soccer players don’t really get hit that hard I challenge you to run in a straight line at full speed and get slightly tapped on the back of your foot midway through your sprint to see if you don’t immediately fall face first or tumble on the grass four times as you hit the ground. When you’re traveling at these speeds even the slightest unexpected contact can derail your momentum. Does it hurt that bad? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It really all depends on the specific player falling to the ground combined with some scientific and mathematical shit I’m not going to get into because I don’t know (I think). Or, as my dad says, “It’s all in your head.” 
The ref knows this, the players know this, and everyone watching on TV knows this. So, is it necessary for grown ass men to sit up and make a face that looks like a crying five-year-old who just dropped their ice cream cone on the ground? No, it absolutely isn’t. But for some reason, every player continues to believe whining and moaning to the ref are going to help their cause. 
Let me correct that. Every MALE player believes this. 
If you aren’t aware, along with the 2015 Copa America happening in Chile as we speak, the Women’s World Cup is currently being held in Canada. If you think watching Women’s World Cup soccer isn’t entertaining I challenge you to go check out some Marta highlights to realize that gender has nothing to do with skill. Know what else it has nothing to do with? Toughness. 
I haven’t watched many games from either tournament, but the ones I have watched have led me to notice a few things:
Every time a male player falls to the ground he immediately grabs a body part that was not even remotely close to being touched. 
Ninety percent of the players make the baby-dropped-his-ice-cream face after getting hit and the other 10% just cover their face so we can’t be sure (let’s be real they probably made the face). 
What did I notice from the women’s games? Well, for one thing, I didn’t see players whining or wincing in pain every time they got fouled. I did see an American player get tackled, fall on the ground (hard), spin around three times, and immediately get up to place the ball for a free kick. No faces, no complaining, not even a single look at the ref wondering why they hadn’t taken out the yellow, red, and blue cards to show the opposing player. This phenomenon continued throughout the game as both sides, United States vs. Nigeria, were barely phased every time they hit the ground as a result of an opponent’s tackle.  
These women were not focused on whether the ref was looking after them or not. Instead, they were more worried about leaving everything they had on the field to give their team the best chance to win. That’s what you do when you represent your country. Wasting time and energy complaining to the ref is not part of that equation. 
I’m not saying that if they stop complaining and worrying about the ref everyone is suddenly going to be on their A game. But, I know from experience that worrying about things that don’t have to do with your own effort on the field can be both mentally and physically draining for any athlete. 
Maybe this strategy wouldn’t have helped Neymar in his struggle against the Colombian defense. Maybe it wouldn’t have prevented us from realizing that Falcao is less than a year removed from his ACL surgery. Personally, I blame his shitty haircut that makes him look like the Robot Devil from Futurama. What I do know is that it would’ve probably allowed them to put 100% of their energy into playing the game they love and not worrying about others. 
One thing is for sure: the men need to start taking lessons from the girls. Because the only things I saw in those World Cup games was effort, intensity, and a whole lot of good soccer.
Those are just my 2cents. 
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