I was on the couch talking to a dear friend over the phone about why people need to be more willing to ask for help. Our society pushes this ideal of the self-made individual, which is contradictory to how humans and therefore human society actually works. So in trying to be the individual that succeeds and handles all problems on their own, people end up breaking down emotionally and mentally. Everyone needs help.
It was during this conversation that I looked up at the TV and saw Liverpool striker Mo Salah break Watford defender Miguel Britos down to the atomic level:
The goal is eerily similar to the one Lionel Messi committed against Jerome Boateng (good man, gone too soon) a few years ago.
Boateng must have felt a cold chill creep up his spine as Britos hit the ground and — I would presume — wished that the same ground would open up to swallow and hide him from the shame. Because nothing is more shameful on the field than someone making you fall. It’s the supreme act of dominance. Even your teammates, people that you’ve shared meals and secrets with, will laugh at you.
There’s no one in the Premier League this year who has proved how necessary it is for an individual to have a supportive system behind them than Salah. Every time he gets one on one with a defender, it’s like watching the defender receive news that the transmission in his car is bad, on the same day that he was fired and his wife left and took the kids away. He induces nervous breakdowns. Every defender that he dices up should be allowed a 10-minute break right after to go lay in bed and listen to “Sandcastles” by Beyonce.
There should be a support group for victims of his violence.
The sad part is that someone did try to help Britos. His teammate came over right before the outside cut to block Salah from coming inside, which was sensible and an idea that he might want to relate to every team that’s ever played Arjen Robben. But like many humans, Britos didn’t seem to notice that he had help. He then fell into a trap that he could have avoided. He bit on the fake and jumped inside to block Salah, which put him off-balance as Salah went back outside, and the rest can be looked at as an interpretive dance of man’s inability to cope with the demands of society on his own.
Britos’ fall would be a perfect clip — right after the one of Boateng— in a motivational video with the audio of Rocky’s speech to his son from the sixth Rocky film:
“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life.”
Except, there’s not an inspiring angle at the end here. Britos kept suffering as Liverpool and Salah did whatever they wanted to Watford.
Because that’s life sometimes. You can go on the field to play soccer as you’ve done for years without incident and then all of a sudden, a small Egyptian man decides to make you look like the victim of a Mario Kart banana. And as you’re falling, you realize that some kid in some foreign country is going to edit your body into the scene of the Lion King where Simba tries to wake up his dead father. And another is going to upload the video to World Star while someone else does the same to some porn website to show how filthy the goal is. Britos is forever part of Salah’s career highlight tape, and few things as an athlete are worse than being the victim in someone’s highlight tape.