20 May 2007

Romario Scores 1000th Goal Thanks To Fuzzy Math

Veteran Brazilian soccer player Romario scored the 1,000th goal of his 23-year career during Vasco's game on Sunday. Romario, now 41, reached the milestone on a 48th-minute penalty kick before a cheering crowd that packed Rio's Sao Januario stadium to see the 23-year veteran. The match was briefly halted after the goal, as his parents, wife, kids, and journalists rushed the field to celebrate. He then took a victory lap around the stadium, waving to the adoring fans.

"I dedicate this goal to all the people who helped me and who were always by my side, like my parents, my children and all of you," a teary-eyed Romario said. "I want to thank God in heaven for all this."

Well...sort of. Perhaps this record isn't what really meets the eye. Many soccer experts consider this landmark to be not a landmark whatsoever. Why, you ask? It's because Romario seems to have taken a few liberties in his method of counting.

Romario counts 71 of his goals towards the 1,000 that he scored as a teenager, as well as those he scored during his amateur days. Goals scored in training games and unofficial matches also somehow made it into the tally.

To make things even murkier, his total has had to be revised a number of times. He previously had counted goals scored in matches that never actually happened, as well as games that ended 0-0. It's hard to see how anyone could reasonably count a goal from a scoreless game, but this tortured logic is exhibited right here!

For their part, FIFA will not recognize Romario's accomplishment. Rightfully so, they only count goals scored in official competitions.

In Romario's mind, it's 1,000, and he's sticking to it.

"This is a historic moment for me and world soccer," Romario said. "I have been chasing this goal real hard and at times I thought I may never reach it. Without a doubt, this was the most important moment in my career as a professional player."

This really seems to be one of those "athlete scrapes the bottom of the barrel, sticking around for no reason" accomplishments. Romario's decision to count goals against practice teams and in games that never happened draws attention away from the great career that he did have. Why didn't he just count goals he scored as himself on FIFA '96 for SEGA?

Imagine what would happen if this trend took off. How would the Home Run record look if Barry Bonds and others would add his spring training homers to his career mark. College Football already allows this by allowing players to count their bowl game stats towards their season totals. Finally, imagine me. How many more three point shots could I have added to my career total if I'd been allowed to count the ones I shot alone in my backyard? A lot. But that's not what sports is.

So Romario - he's scored 1,000 goals. Or 929. Depends on how you count it. For the sake of integrity in sports, let's use the 929.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm confused by your wording, but it doesn't appear that 929 is even the correct number. Are all of his dubious goals contained in the 71 goals he is claiming, or does that just include the teenage and amateur goals? Are the exhibition and scoreless game goals in addition to the 71?

Zach Landres-Schnur said...

i scored a goal at recess once.

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