30 Apr 2007

Diving is not part of sports

Feigning, faking, falling way too easily, diving.
Whatever you want to call it - I call it crap and it has no place in any sport. OH, except for diving, lol.
The biggest culprit of this heinous crime against sport is soccer.
Another classic example of the ever-present 'soccer dive' came in this past weekend's home opener for Toronto's MLS club against Kansas City.
While TFC was pretending to be the Maple Leafs and still remain without a goal in four games, their opponent was busily engaging in antics that are reminiscent of the Laurel and Hardy pratfalls in their movies. Of particular note was the 'playing up' of an injury by the KC goaltender on a legitimate challenge outside the box.
That incident was just the worst one of the bunch, which consisted of at least four or five 'dives' by KC players in the first half. (I didn't watch the second half, as I had to have a nap.)
And this was just the latest, because fans and others have been complaining for the past few years about the 'actions' of players in UFEA games or the EPL or other European leagues.
But soccer isn't the only sport that sports the slogan - Come dive for us.
Hockey - particularly the NHL as of late - has been chastized for allowing the downhill slide into the debachary called faking.
Unlike soccer, where players seem to fall like a tree in a tornado at the slightest touch from an opponent, hockey players have become adept at biting their lips (or any other portion of their mouth, cheeks, etc) to draw blood at get a double minor or major for the penaltized player, dropping their stick and shaking or grabbing their hand/arm if they get a little wack or tug from a stick as well as falling to the ice in the fashion of a three-year-old learning to skate would do after attempt his first step on the ice with no support.
There are other sports that have similar troubles as well, but in the interest of your time and my fingers, I will stop at these two.
Now for the solution, it's easy - - Use the rule book to its fullest extent and eliminate the classless activity.
In soccer, referees need to be trained to start booking (yellow card for those not familar) players that feign any injury or perform any in-flight stunts. Only when this begins to happen in the upper echelon of the sport and in a consistent fashion, will this crime be gone for good. And any good soccer official can usually tell the difference, if not, then why are they there. As well, use the assistant's vision and allow them to help the referee on this call.
Now for the sport where I have officiated for 26 years - hockey.
The NHL has to crackdown and call the diving penalty on its own, no longer as an 'even up' call. Once you do that, players will stop this cheating and do what they are supposed to do - battle for space and the puck.
As for the fake letting of blood, it's hard for officials to know what the cause was, but maybe its time for one of the officials (now that there are four of them) to immediately skate to the player and make a check - instead of having the trainer reach the player first, giving the player time to create something.
The other thing is by getting officials from the lowest category on up to start calling this conduct and penalizing it as it should be - with an unsportsmanlike penalty.
Give the officials the tools to help get rid of it - - and then make them use it.

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