Silver Chips Online

Lobo gone loco

By Blake Morgan-Gamber, Online Features and Sports Editor
November 24, 2009
In any sport, there's a fine line between sportsmanship-like aggression and just playing dirty. Unfortunately, University of New Mexico (UNM) soccer player Elizabeth Lambert could not differentiate between the two in New Mexico's game against Brigham Young on Nov. 6. Lambert's acts of violence in the match were an embarrassment to UNM, and reflect poorly on the successes of female athletes all around.

Elizabeth Lambert was in her third year of playing soccer for the UNM Lobos before she was suspended indefinitely.  <i>Picture courtesy of CBS News.</i>
Elizabeth Lambert was in her third year of playing soccer for the UNM Lobos before she was suspended indefinitely. Picture courtesy of CBS News.
On YouTube, video footage from the game shows Lambert deliberately tripping another player, forcefully punching one of her opponents in the back and pulling another player down to the ground by her ponytail. In response to Lambert's sadistic actions on the field, UNM suspended the player indefinitely from all university athletic facilities and programs.

Admittedly, the video is somewhat entertaining since it becomes hard to understand Lambert's excessive anger. During the entire game, Lambert's facial expressions stand out among the other players. With her teeth grit, she never seems happy to be playing in the game. As a result, she picks unnecessary quarrels with her opponents. Even more difficult to understand is the openness of her actions; the soccer diva does not try to be sneaky in her attacks on the other players, and is deliberate with her abuse on the other team. Although Lambert's desire to win got the best of her, this does not excuse her actions in any way.

Athletes sometimes enjoy participating in sports to channel their anger into something productive and athletic. While being aggressive is vital to being successful in sports, especially soccer, being mentally focused and level-headed is equally - if not more - important. Successful athletes never let emotions or snide comments from opponents take them out of their game. In fact, if an athlete gets carried away by his or her emotions, the repercussions are often discomforting: an undesirable and mean-spirited person can shine through and embarrass this athlete later on.

It is also hard to pity Lambert for her humility since she should have considered how her unwarranted actions would affect her school. Collegiate athletes are not paid to play sports and having the opportunity to play for their school is a privilege. Therefore, all actions collegiate athletes make are representative of the school they attend. Lambert's savage actions during the game not only poorly represented her school, but also her fellow UNM Lobos. The rest of the team will be deemed with a reputation for being unsportsmanlike because Lambert decided to act inappropriately.

Whether willingly or not, athletes at the collegiate level and beyond serve as role models to younger aspiring athletes. Lambert's actions impaired any inspiring images young female soccer players had of her.

Although her actions were unfortunate, Blazer athletes can learn from Lambert's faults. There will always be a time in a game when an athlete will get angry. While exploding with emotions may seem like an easy option, it is not the logical one.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/9683