North Korea Manager Blames Lightning for Women's World Cup Loss

I blame witchcraft.

By , Columnist
I don't care much for organized sports and I assume every game would be safer with a helmet because I hold the world record for getting hit in the head with balls. Despite being mostly uncompetitive in general (why else would I be writing this for a wage less than what most Chinese children earn making my clothes), I am a poor sport when I lose a game of tennis against my husband. I usually blame an easterly wind for propelling my ball 30 yards out of bounds, or a dematerializing hole in the net that inexplicably repairs itself once the ball sails swiftly past my awkwardly flailing racket.

I prefer to think I lost the game by sabotaging myself or due to esoteric circumstances rather than ever giving credit to my opponent's superior ability. I know I am a sore loser and I might work on that character flaw one day, but I can't hold a candle to the excuse used by the North Korean women's soccer manager after the U.S. 2-0 win in the Women's World Cup.

The first half of Tuesday's match started as a neck-to-neck competition until the U.S. scored two goals within 20 minutes in the second half. After the match, North Korea manager Kwang Min Kim revealed that during his team's training in Pyongyang the "players were hit by lightning, and more than five of them were hospitalized... The fact that they played could be called abnormal, the result of very strong will."

This isn't the first time the electrocution excuse has been used. In October 1998, a team of 11 players was struck dead by lightning in the Democratic Republic of Congo while their opponents were left completely untouched. The locals blamed witchcraft, which I totally understand. It is peculiar, though, that no mention of lightning-stricken players was mentioned prior to the team's defeat. There is no way to verify the lightning strike and subsequent hospitalization as North Korean players are forbidden from speaking to the press, and training sessions are not open to the public. Their contract also apparently requires them to wear bowl cuts.

I support creative new ways to portray poor sportsmanship and anything that avoids taking personal responsibility. The next first time I win a tennis match against my husband, I will not just win, I will win despite a metaphysical net and a category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, and it will be well earned.

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Holly is a freelance writer and copy editor with a background in journalism and publishing. Like a grandmother's purse, she is about three decades old, worn around the edges and mostly full of crap.

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