Yellow Card, Red Card. Life Gets Less Hard

Like so many of us here in the United States, I know so little about soccer. I’m not even sure why our country is the only one which calls the game soccer. Sure, we have a completely different game that we call football, but perhaps we could have compromised on this name thing since all the other cool kids have settled on what to call the sport.

Face it. Most of you don’t really know if he’s got a peg leg or not. (image by jasonwhat ccbysa 2.0)

Despite our indifference to the sport at any other time, the nation becomes obsessed with soccer when the World Cup tournament starts. We really have no idea if cutting Landon Donovan hurt or helped the US team. The truth is that most of us forgot he existed after the last World Cup. For all we know, the man has a pirate style peg leg now and is no longer much of a ummmmm…whatever position he played. But during this period where soccer is in fashion, we’ll debate such matters as if we had the knowledge to do so.

I find myself thinking more about the game, even as I laugh at us for our quadrennial interest in it. I’ve advocated that we adapt soccer’s tradition of exchanging jerseys with an opponent after a match so we can use it in every day life . What better way to let someone know you appreciate their efforts than by giving them your shirt and wearing theirs around?

And that’s not the only idea I’m taking from soccer.

Closed Captioning Provided For The Spanish Impaired

Yesterday, I ate lunch in a restaurant. There was a World Cup game on, with the sound off. Having the sound off allowed diners like me to read about what was happening on the field, in Spanish.

As I watched the action, I saw a player in a yellow jersey get mildly jostled by a player wearing blue. The player in yellow fell down like he’d been shot and began screaming in faux agony. Not to be outdone, the player in blue dropped to the turf and simulated a trauma induced seizure. The referee ran up, assessed the situation and announced his ruling on the matter by showing the player in blue a yellow card.

Dear Diary, I saw a man knock over another man. It was a frightful experience. I used my yellow card. (image via zenit ccbysa3.0)

As soon as the yellow card was shown, both players got up and ran away. The referee paused to write his feelings about what he saw in a notebook, then refocused on the game.

Being shown a yellow card let that player know he had committed a somewhat moderate offense. The referee had the option of showing the player a red card. A red card means that, in the referee’s opinion, a player has sinned to an alarming extent. If a soccer player gets a red card, he must leave the field and reassess his direction in life.

Adapt To Overcome

This red/yellow card system seems like something I can use to address those that offend me. A yellow card seems just about right for that woman who cut me off in traffic the other day, or that guy who blocked the grocery aisle while he compared the merits of name brand vs. store brand fig newtons. I’m pretty certain that getting a yellow card from me will lead to a sheepish apology and a behavior change by the offender.

A red card would be for people whose offenses so offend the sensibilities of the average person (and who is more average than me?) that I must insist that, like the footballer, they step aside and reconsider the course of their life. I envision red carding those who enter the 12 items or less aisle at the check out with thirty items, those who force me to yellow card them several times in a day, parents who give their children ridiculous names and anyone with the surname Kardashian.

The card system will help me too. I’m considering carrying a notebook and writing down my feelings about what I see, just like a soccer referee. I won’t show what I write to anyone because, like a soccer ref, they’d be my private thoughts for use in my journey to becoming a more complete person.

The card system will allow me (and you, as the idea spreads) to very subtly say to people who need to hear it “I saw what you did”. I foresee most people who get carded undergoing a period of self-reflection in accordance with the shade of card they get and emerging from the encounter a better citizen.

This system is the World Cup’s chance to change the world. Let’s not miss the opportunity “The Beautiful Game” is giving us.

21 Comments on “Yellow Card, Red Card. Life Gets Less Hard”

  1. shoutabyss says:

    Cards for everyday life would be so useful. Imagine whipping one out at the express lane, as you suggest, and after a brief but heated argument, the person has to walk away with their head hung in shame. That’s a sport I could watch all day.

    • omawarisan says:

      And in the notebook “red carded guy with 20 items in the express line. He argued that three boxes of oatmeal counted as one item because they were on sale. The rest of the line jeered him. I felt vindicated.”

  2. Blogdramedy says:

    This is a brilliant idea. Brilliant.
    If I paid real cash money, do you think you could do me up a set of “flash” cards.?
    Featuring Karl Urban?

  3. liamiman says:

    I like the card system as you envision it. Best of luck with it. I’m afraid that if I attempt to use it (even though it’s a good idea), people may get a certain impression of me when I attempt to wave a card in their faces.

    • omawarisan says:

      Oh yeah, you’ve got to handle the implementation carefully. I recommend just holding up the card and walking away while you make your journal entry. They know what they did.

  4. NotAPunkRocker says:

    Happens to be I have some construction paper right here… 🙂

    • omawarisan says:

      It looks like you need a card the size of an index card.

      Do they still manufacture index cards?

      • Linda Sand says:

        Not only do they still manufacture index cards they make them already red or yellow! Of course, you have to buy a whole pack of each color but that just means you’ll have ready replacements for when they guy you just carded tears up your card.

  5. Amy Reese says:

    Love this. And a red card to reconsider your life course. Ha ha! I actually like soccer (football) but never watch it. I don’t really watch many sports. Only figure skating every four years. I know how you feel about that one!

  6. knace says:

    The flopping for a foul technique (And I’m convinced they actually have training exercises for it) reminds me of when my son was a toddler and he would fall and look around to see if anyone had noticed- if he thought no one had, he would pick himself up and play on.
    And I think the Kardashians deserve a more severe penalty than a red card. Some sort of banishment is in order.

  7. Pie says:

    The card system for every day life is a great idea. Alas, living in London means I’ll probably run out of red cards before lunchtime!

  8. This four-yearly interest doesn’t just apply to those of you in the US, I’m a Brit and football is pretty much our national game (which doesn’t say much considering how badly we fare internationally with it these days), but many of us, such as me, only take an interest in football once every four years. Possibly sometimes in the middling two years too when the Euro cup takes place, that is also every four years but in between the World Cup years, although last Euro, England didn’t even qualify for it!…or was that the one before? Dunno! See, my interest is minimal. I love your carding idea though, I pretty much have a system like that already, using very descriptive facial expressions rather than cards, but you know, as I’m a Brit, I tend to just do those at the back of their heads so that they can’t see.

  9. I’d like to use the technique of falling on the ground in mock agony when someone offends me in my office. Send me an order at 6pm, just as I’m getting ready to go home? I’ll clutch at my heart and scream at the top of my lungs. See if they ever send me an order that late again.

  10. Genius! Boo loves sports, and Radley plays soccer, so if we start doing this, maybe they’ll clean their rooms. Maybe?

  11. Jeff says:

    Your description of the yellow / blue team incident is one way of looking at fouling in football. The orthodox view is that ‘their players are thugs when they foul ours, and wusses when our guys foul them.’

    Would your carding system include the ability to call the stretcher over when anyone moans about aches and pains or feeling a bit tired?

    You might like my solution to the reactions to officials’ decisions:

  12. Here is an idea I can get behind! It would give me great pleasure to just red card or yellow card (depending on their affront) and not have to actually deal with them. Card them and walk away, leaving them to stew in their red or yellow mess. Of course, this will not work with colour blind people. Do they see colour at all or just misinterpret it?
    By the way, Oma, there is nothing “average” about you.

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