Quitting – when did it become so infectious?

Posted: August 12, 2010 in Sport
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Bristol City manager Steve Coppell has quit after 122 days and one league match. Paul Robinson and Wes Brown decided to quit International football after they were recalled to the England side, Simon Davies did the same to Wales. Paul Scholes set the tone in the summer and now Fabio Capello has quit on David Beckham.

Once football was the last bastion of the try-hard spirit. The FA Cup saw sides refuse to accept defeat against superior opposition and embark on giant-killing runs of legend.

This never-say-die attitude was not always shared by the general public, true, but it was refreshing to see that it survived in football.

But now that last bastion has fallen, as quitting has become the new cool. Scholes turned his back on England because the assistant manager called to ask him to come to the World Cup. Call me daft but I would have gone if Ray Clemence’s dog had asked me.

I subscribe to the sporting mantra that you do not give up on your country, your country gives up on you. National teams unite warring fans under one banner and selection is the pinnacle of sporting achievement, regardless of the endorsement deals and contracts.

The fate of every international was and should still be that  one day the final call comes. That’s it. Your country has moved on. But you still remain available in case one day, your services are once more required. That is the honour of representing your country, that when needed you will be called upon. It’s like a vocation.

But the one player who understood this, David Beckham, fell victim to the cruellest fate of all when Capello told the world via a TV interview that his international career was over.

There was apparently no communication, no courteous phonecall telling Goldenballs that he was no longer in Don Fabio’s plans. But Beckham still refuses to retire despite the public embarrassment of finding out with the rest of the world.

This is because he has class. He understands that the most important thing about being a sportsman is representing your country. Sadly there is now a generation of sports stars and sports fans who will see their idols quitting and looking after number one.

If that is the example we set, how can we expect to have the togetherness of a Spain, Germany or Argentina, teams which eclipsed us in the World Cup.

The answer: We can’t.

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