The next World Cup (wait, can we say that?
) soccer tournament begins in less than two months, and it looks like some folks are already lining up the excuses for when their team underperforms on the pitch. The latest one: blaming the use of iPods and video games
for preventing teams from building a "collective spirit." An English coach started the riff by saying, "I'm not a big fan of these big earphones on the way to games," and that "my thing with the iPod generation is that when they leave the ground and go away to their closeted little lives they shouldn't forget what's got them where they are and what impact they can have." It should be added that his team currently lies near the bottom of the top English league, and their problems likely run much, much deeper than their players' headphones. But hey, just like when your nation fails at the World Cup, it's a lot easier to blame technology
than anything legitimate, like at the last tournament, when Brazil's poor performance was blamed on Ronaldinho's interest in scoring
on his PS2 (and his girlfriend) rather than for his team. This pining for the good ol' days also ignores the idea that technology can deliver some benefits
to players and their teams as well, and that the current generation of players might be more effective at bonding over some video games than beers, cards or whatever else their forerunners got up to.