Soccer – The Most Important of Life’s Unimportant Things

September 21, 2006


by @ 9:34 am.
Filed under Media, Miscellany

So, I watched “Once In A Lifetime” last night. You know, the movie about the New York Cosmos that was in all the theaters this summer and did such boffo box office that a sequel about the Tampa Bay Rowdies is in the works?

Yeah, that one.

It was a hugely entertaining move, provided you were born sometime in the cusp of the Baby Boom and Generation X, are an American, and are an incurable soccerphile.

All of which, of course, I am.

I don’t mean to give a review of the movie, other than to say I liked it, but I just wanted to point out one scene, which, I feel fairly certain, must contain the single most absurd thing ever uttered by a human being since the dawn of civilization.

Giorgio Chinaglia is being interviewed. While a prolific goal scorer in his day, both in Italy and the NASL, Giorgio was a bit of a headcase, and comes off as somewhat the pompous ass in this film. Which is okay, apparently, with Giorgio. Fine. I can respect that. He’s brash, arrogant, opinionated and cocky. But he could score goals, so, that’s acceptable to most people.


There is a passage in the film where he discusses Pele. The fact that Giorgio Chinaglia even got to sit in the same locker room as Pele, much less play on the same field as the man, should be enough for him. Really. Giorgio was good, but Pele is Pele. But Chinaglia is so full of himself, even 30 years later, to have the unfettered gall to say the following: “Off the field . . . a lovable man. On the field though, yeah, I had some problems with him.”

Let’s be crystal clear here, kids. Giorgio Chinaglia, on film, preserved for posterity, is denigrating Pele’s skills as a soccer player. He goes on later to imply that Pele’s fault was that he played too close to the center of the field, where Giorgio wanted to be, and that had he played a little wider, they both would have scored more goals.

As the young people say these days:

Oh. My. God.

Chinaglia criticizes Pele. How can one even respond to such a thing? Well, let me try.

First off, clearly this film was mis-named. Instead of “Once In A Lifetime”, a better title would have been “Giorgio Chinaglia Is A Friggin’ Nutcase”.

Let us, if we can, explore some historical parallels to such an outrageous statement, to clarify the outrageousness a bit more.

The guy who invented the paper clip says of Thomas Edison, “Oh yeah, a lovely guy, but as an inventor, just a bit unoriginal.”

Lewis says of Clark: “He’s a sweetheart, but as an explorer, you know, not intrepid enough for me.”

Judas says of John: “Don’t get me wrong, terrific apostle, but I thought he lacked a bit in the loyalty department.”

Mark McGwire says of Hank Aaron: “Tremendous guy. Had trouble with the curve, though.”

Idi Amin says of Pol Pot: “Fun at parties, but jeez, the guy had a temper”.

Do you see what I’m getting at here, people?

It was invaluable for me to have seen this film. I can now measure all future ridiculous statements by what I will now call “The Chinaglia Index.” I have the boys at NASA crunching the numbers as we speak, to calibrate the index precisely, but suffice it to say, it will take an absurdity of epic proportions to score more than, say 1.2 Chinaglias.

Your normal internet message board poster might on average rate, say, .4 Chinaglias, because they aren’t really expected to know what they’re talking about, while, say, a candidate for president who criticizes his opponents veracity, while himself being a mighty sleazeball, might get as high 1.5 Chinaglias.

I can’t even imagine what kind of statement might get two Chinaglias.

One shivers at the very thought.


  1. Laurie Says:

    How about Materazzi calling Zidane “super-arrogant”?

Leave a Reply

[powered by WordPress.]

internal links:


search blog:


September 2006
« Aug   Oct »



Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-
Share Alike 3.0 United States License


We Recommend:

Click here for BigSoccer!

Listed on Soccer Blogs

25 queries. 0.578 seconds