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Soccer, I’m Watching You!

August 4, 2012

Not a big deal, really.  I watch soccer sometimes.  I even played when I was young, until it was time to get serious.

Not football, mind you, soccer.  I have football already, thanks.  This shouldn’t be an issue.  Everybody manages just fine with all the other terminology that gets mangled crossing borders.  You can manage this as well.

I watch the Premiere League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Champions League matches on Setanta Sports.  What am I supposed to watch at 9 in the morning?  Golf?  Fishing?

The point is, I don’t actually have any issues with soccer.  It can be a beautiful game to watch.  The announcers usually have great accents and are funny haha, instead of funny like a freshly-trepanated, alcoholic monkey trying to open a locked beer fridge.  Something akin to listening to the White Sox announcers try to tell you what is happening on the field.

However.

That’s the big butt in this convo.

However, I can’t take some of the weirdness.  It just feels unnatural.

I’m watching the end of an Olympic matchup between Japan and Egypt.  Japan has the match in hand.

This is the point at which the announcer hopes aloud that the head referee (or whoever the hell is in charge of timekeeping on the pitch) doesn’t allow “stoppage” time to go very long because the game is over and we don’t want anyone to get hurt.  Or something.

I know what he’s saying, but these matches are pool matches.  Total goals is a thing.

In my head, a sporting competition is bound by a defined start and finish.  Not some sort of hazy “stoppage” time that gets added in at the end for….drama?  Because we can’t actually let you know when the match will end….or we have to kill you?  Because so much time was spent by players in the game doing their best Slip N Slide impressions?

You know how that goes.  When, in the depths of summer hell, you think some plastic and some water will magically transform your back alley “backyard” into a magical water slide instead of the rock and glass strewn hooker catwalk it really is.  That moment you launch into your first slide.  That next moment when your sac finds all those sharp bits you failed to clear off the sadly unslippery plastic before you soaked it with the potent “potable” that is Chicago water.  When you just have to lay there and collect yourself while everyone else stands around (1) harping that it didn’t hurt that bad; (2) thanking Alf it didn’t happen to them; and (3) trying to roll you out the damm way so the next person can have a go.

It seems all kinds of wrong to me.  The nebulous timing coupled with the idea that, once the game is deemed “decidedly over,” you no longer have a duty to the rest of the tournament participants to finish it out in a competitive manner.  Didn’t athletes just get in trouble for trying to help their seeding in badminton?  I find that far less disturbing.  You can’t make anyone try hard, but you can make them stand out there and sulk until the official whistle blows.

I’m sure that all sounds quite lame from someone who watches a sport where people use drugs to get bigger, to get smaller and so that players don’t get tired from playing every fifth game.  A sport where wiping boogers on the ball and scuffing it with that hidden emery board in your hatband is considered gamesmanship, but where playfully doffing your cap at a beaten opponent is considered the act of classless bums and criminals.  Where the shape of the field depends on what city you’re playing in.

I wouldn’t want to play those guys in a game of

Olympic Games

Olympic Games (Photo credit: Eugenia Loli)

ping-pong for money.  They could take illegal racquet improvement to a new art.

There is a discussion among baseball nitwits every year regarding the intentional walk.  This is the part when a pitcher has decided he will let the batter have first base.  Normally this happens through a walk, a hit, or some other unique disaster that allows the batter to take first base (you can look this stuff up, but it doesn’t really matter).  An intentional walk requires a pitcher to pitch those pitches and have them called balls.  The wanks that think those few minutes will eventually end up slicing thirty seconds off the average time to completion for a ballgame think this is a stupid waste of time.  Nothing will ever happen other than what is intended.  Just give the guy his base.

This kind of attitude seems the very opposite of sporting competition to me.  You don’t give anything.  Rules are meant to be broken.  That’s why we have umpires and referees and penalty boxes.

The players must play.

The judges should judge.

I don’t want to see the players having to stop play by kicking the ball out because there is a player faking injury 40 yards away from play.  That’s what the referees are for.  Or should be for.  Perhaps they, like me, simply aren’t going to acknowledge the absolute insanity that soccer diving has become.

Is it possible that we stop going to shoot-outs to end ties?  Maybe we could tally up the best diving scores as judged by The Judges.  Hopefully the sort of judges involved in the 1972 US v Russia Olympic hoops game.  Or those esteemed individuals from the 1988 Olympic boxing disasters, who so mangled a decision that the IOC changed the Olympic boxing scoring system (to something that doesn’t resemble boxing at all) despite refusing to admit what every single person who has seen the match in question already knows.

It’s all in perspective.  I get that.

Still, you soccer fellers are pansies!  Play it out!  And get up off the damm turf!

At the very least, stop rolling around like you’re looking for a Daytime Emmy Award.

I kid.  Don’t come torch my house.  Please.

Remember kids, shit happens…

July 29, 2012

After going 4-for-5 with a grand slam, six RBI and two stolen bases, Tacoma’s leadoff hitter scored the winning run on a wild pitch that came during an intentional walk with two outs in the top of the ninth inning as the Rainiers beat Tucson, 8-7.

August 3, 2012

After the first two pitches of Haggerty’s intentional walk went off without a hitch, ball three sailed past catcher Stephen Forziati and Medfield began celebrating at home plate when Pendergast scampered home.

There may be no joy in Mudville, but in Medfield, it’s a different story.  Different story, perhaps, than had they just not bothered with the details.

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