I’ve never liked Cristiano Ronaldo. I think he is arrogant, obnoxious, and with the exception of how he played for a few matches prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, very overrated. His Portugal National Soccer team plays a dirty aggressive style and has beaten some of my favorite teams. So in that typical way a passionate sports fan will, I hate Ronaldo. However, I also know the dangers of attacking someone incorrectly. Apparently the story claiming he refused to exchange shirts with an Israeli player is as made up as the pictures you see here showing Ronaldo and a photoshopped picture above Lionel Messi with a photshopped picture. The real story, a story that incidentally took place at least a year ago is that he didn’t exchange his jersey with a fellow Portuguese player that was already wearing an Israeli jersey. The truth is that during his trip to Israel he happily posed on Tel-Aviv beach, commented publicly about enjoying Israel and is even pictured smiling and shaking the hand of Shimon Peres. So until I hear otherwise, I will continue to hate Ronaldo the way I hate any athlete who I consider the enemy…in a game. In real life it appears the guy may not be that bad after all.
As anyone who has read my writing knows, I am never bashful when it comes to going after someone I feel is an enemy of Israel and the Jewish people. But despite my somewhat poor-sport dislike for Ronaldo, Portugal beat Holland and England too much for my liking, I won’t attack someone if I don’t see it as warranted. I’ll just root against him on the pitch.
We have enough real enemies that we don’t need to make them up.
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Quick answer; it could. If only the politicians and power mongers would let it. In a world filled with violence and hatred, I am one of those who truly believes that the majority of the people watching care more about their country scoring a goal than any territorial conflict or prejudice against people. Despite my belief that FIFA may very well be corrupt, a belief somewhat influenced by The Netherlands’ inability to break through and win it all, I truly believe this tournament, FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brasil, can do a lot more good than harm. In fact, I don’t even think it is close. I am not naive. As a Jew and as an American, I know there are people who hate us. But wouldn’t it be great if all the battles and anger could be left on a soccer pitch? I know my prejudices towards countries like Holland, America and England are based on personal experiences that make me root in favor of their success, just as my prejudices against Iran, Algeria and France are also based on my experiences or perceptions. However, wouldn’t it be great if it stopped there for everyone. I wouldn’t gloat over the death of Iranians, but I certainly gloated over their defeat in a World Cup match. When I say I hate Cristiano Ronaldo and I hate Portugal, it is because he strikes me as arrogant and I see Portugal as a villain in international soccer tournaments, not because I hate the country or people. On the contrary, I have Portuguese blood. My mother’s maiden name is Rodrigues-Lopes, a Portuguese name. And my hatred for Ronaldo wants me to see him fail in football, excuse me, soccer, not fail in life. And yes, as a Jewish man and Zionist I would much prefer Palestinians dancing in the streets because Israel didn’t qualify or because the U.S. got eliminated, not because of a successful terrorist attack that killed Jews.
The good news, I believe the majority of the planet would agree with this sentiment. They just need to fight to create governments that feel the same way. It may be a pipe dream, but to quote my favorite line from the movie Flashdance, “when you lose your dreams, you die.”
Whenever possible, Holland’s Heroes attempts to take current events and link it to the story in Jew Face. Sometimes it is an obvious connection, sometimes it is a stretch requiring imagination, and occasionally it is a connection that in its insignificance is mildly entertaining and sometimes even funny or ironic. This particular post falls into that last category.
Over the next 5 days the champion for Euro 2012 International Football(soccer) tournament will be crowned. The semifinal matches are as follows. Today, Spain against Portugal. Tomorrow, Germany against Italy.
The book Jew Face is the story of my parents Nardus and Sipora Groen, primarily surrounding the events taking place between 1940-1945. My mother’s maiden name was Rodrigues-Lopes. A Dutch Jew from Spanish-Portuguese descent, my mother spent 5 years either hiding or running from the Nazi killing machine with the help of my father Nardus Groen. This book chronicles the events that took place as they lived through the time when Germany occupied Holland. One of Germany’s allies during World War II; Italy.
I think the irony is obvious. The not so obvious question, seeing as these countries are very different countries today is, who would I like to see win this thing. I will keep that answer to myself. At least for today.