Icelandic soccer puts NFL’s timid celebrations to shame
In this morning’s column advocating the elimination of celebration penalties in the National Football League, I tangentially addressed the three other traditional American professional sports and their lack of any real celebration tradition.
But my managing editor Mike Feeley rightly pointed out that I somehow neglected to mention the most celebratory sport of all — soccer. And he sent along this video. Frankly, I think it deserves its own post.
First, though, it points up all the differences between American culture and that of the rest of the world regarding sports celebrations. Here, you’ll get a lot of blow-back about how celebrations display a me-first mentality, indirectly mock the opponent, “disrespect the game” and a lot of other sentiment that suggests anyone who partakes is exhibiting a lack of sportsmanship.
In soccer, both in Europe and South America, none of this applies. It’s just seen mostly as good clean fun.
And that’s how you get these guys. I present you the members of Iceland’s Stjarnan FC which made a name for themselves with their funny choreographed celebrations in the late “00s and early ’10s before their manager put the kibosh on them and instructed them to concentrate on fotbolti.
In the NFL, these celebrations might get you so many multiple flags and fines as to necessitate a special summit conference between The Shield and the NFLPA. In Europe, not so big a deal.
Soccer fans will remember the Icelandic triumph at last year’s UEFA Euro 2016 in which the national team, stocked with Stjarnan members and in its first appearance at Euro, advanced to the knockout round. There it stunned England 2-1 in the round of 16 before falling to host France in the quarterfinals. So, the boys can play a little, too. At Euro 2016, you may recall their Viking Clap celebration. Same guys.
Above are a compilation of their greatest hits from prior years. My favorites: The Toilet, the Birth and the Fishing Trip.
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