Have you seen that video of Elizabeth Lambert? She's the University of New Mexico women's soccer player who became an overnight sensation after Lobos' game against BYU earlier this month.
Lambert is seen in a montage of heated physical encounters, punching an opponent in the back, tripping other players, and even throwing an opponent to the ground by her ponytail.
Lambert has issued an apology and been suspended indefinitely from all of her team's games, practices and activities for her unsportsmanlike conduct.
Interestingly, this video has become one of the most-viewed on You Tube after being splashed throughout national news and entertainment programs from ESPN to CNN to Leno. Comedians told jokes about the soccer player and played the video repeatedly, while Lambert's actions were debated, chastised and defended in a variety of news media.
Shortly after this incident, another video received national attention. This time, it was a brawl that broke out during a high school girls' soccer game in Rhode Island, both on the field and in the stands. Again, the tape was replayed and dissected by the national media.
Some questioned whether such conduct was prevalent throughout the sport of women's soccer; others wondered if sportsmanship in general is dying. Both questions are unfortunate for the sport of women's soccer and for sport in general.
Of course, there are physical moments in college women's and high school girls' soccer; the level of physicality and intensity undoubtedly rises with the experience and expertise of the players, and there are times when participants cross the line of good sportsmanship.
However, the violence that recently received national attention is the exception rather than the rule. It would be unfair to condemn the sport as a whole because of a few isolated instances that unfortunately happened within a few days of one another.
Soccer is a sport played with pride and passion around the world, both by men and women. That passion, as we have seen on the world class stage, has sparked fights and even riots among fans. Still, there is much more to soccer, and to sport, than those negative images.
Soccer is also a sport that requires a tremendous amount of skill, conditioning, dedication, concentration and teamwork; a sport that teaches physical coordination, mental toughness and life lessons.
Hopefully some of those lessons are being learned by players, coaches, officials and fans throughout the country in light these recent negative incidents. It is definitely a teaching moment for young players who are learning the game.
Certainly, there are instances in all levels of sport where the pressure and passion of the moment replaces good judgment. That does not mean that sportsmanship as a whole is dying.
Most sporting events, including women's soccer games, end without incident and without national attention. They simply end with handshakes.
Kellie Goodman can be reached at email@example.com. Her column appears on Tuesdays.