Only a gameBRAZIL shuts down its stock exchange when the...

NOTES AND COMMENTS

July 07, 1998

Only a game

BRAZIL shuts down its stock exchange when the national team plays in soccer's World Cup.

English fans took on the police of France as well as the fans of Tunisia during World Cup games in recent weeks.

Iran acted as though it had won World War III when its team defeated the United States.

The worst was when Argentina defeated England on a penalty kick shootout after a scoreless overtime in a 2-2 tie.

The Argentines went crazy at home. They thought they had gained vengeance for the Falkland Islands war of 1982.

And the English! They wanted to crucify their biggest star, the millionaire heartthrob David Beckham, who got himself ejected for a crude foul, causing England to play one man short and lose.

Instead of rejoicing that the English lads had played so well in a great match, the English people and media cried national disaster. Poor Mr. Beckham had to rush to New York, where no one had heard of him, to avoid mob attacks.

Why can't other nationalities act like Americans?

Nobody in this country was distraught when the United States national team lost to Iran. It was not defeat in war, a national humiliation or anything like that.

It was just a good game, in which our guys unfortunately lost.

After all, the moral worth of the nation is not at stake. It isn't war. It's only a game.

People should put this in perspective and enjoy. It's not baseball.

Cowboy idol

REPUBLIC Studios made two movie cowboy idols who couldn't have been more different in their screen personas. John Wayne was a rough, tough, swaggering son of a gun. Roy Rogers was a polite, singing cowboy who never killed to catch a crook.

Mothers didn't mind their sons pretending to be Roy. Millions did. With little girls who idolized his co-star wife, Dale Evans, they joined Roy Rogers fan clubs and made him a movie and TV star.

Mr. Rogers died yesterday. He was 86. In the 1940s and '50s, cowboy movies were king and he was "king of the cowboys." It was a time when children took it for granted that nothing meant more to a man than his horse and dog. Unless it was a woman who loved that horse and dog just as much.

Even after Roy and Dale got older, seeing them in their Western get-ups at a public appearance would remind adults of the virtues of their screen characters. Honesty, integrity, modesty, courage, faithfulness -- values too few movie heroes exemplify -- today.

Pub Date: 7/07/98

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