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.
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.
Blake Morgan-Gamber. Blake Morgan-Gamber is a rare specimen with two last names; she woos women and men alike with her fanciful features writing and sumptuous sports editing. But do not be lulled by this siren, though BMG is a creature of beauty, there's many amazing talents inside ... More »