World Cup Problems: Shootout, Embellishment And Goal Slides

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MARLBORO, NY – The only thing more brutal than the stretch of hot weather we’ve experienced has been the play of the New York Mets. The Flushing Nine either can’t score enough runs to support great starting pitching performances or the bullpen fully implodes trying to close out games in which they stand a chance of winning. It’s depressing to watch this team, so I’ve been watching my share of the Wimbledon tennis championship or, as I’ll report on today, the soccer World Cup.

One of soccer’s problems is also one related to the NHL on a larger scale: the shootout or penalties, as they are called. Hockey allows regular season games to be decided via the shootout but at least the rule makers don’t and ever should let playoff games be determined by this one-on-one showdown between the goalie and shooter. Only watching soccer every four years, I’m not familiar with all of the rules, but having two 15-minute overtime periods seems idiotic as a sudden-death format would serve the sport better from an excitement level. Is there anything better than a playoff hockey overtime game? I seriously doubt it. To have a tie match on soccer’s grandest stage come down to penalties makes for great debate and to this spectator needs to be scrapped.

The second item has to do with the amount of flopping or embellishment or whatever you want to call this all too common practice. These theatrics take away from the game. Listen, I’ve never been kicked in the shins or ankles or pushed from behind and tripped playing soccer because the sport never appealed to me on a participatory level. When I see grown men writhing in so called pain from minor physical action there’s a major problem with the game that allows this. Having played a lot of tackle football without equipment as kids there were plenty of bumps and bruises to be had but when one of us got banged around we didn’t pussy it up by faking an injury. The NHL has embellishment rules currently in place and soccer’s governing body should likewise follow.

One thing I will never get used to are woman color commentators during sports telecasts. Jonathan Wicklow Barberie is an even better option that having estrogen-laden opinions coming from the booth. It’s a woman’s world but I’m not sure why networks feel they have to employ women to deliver analysis of sporting events. As a sports fan, I don’t turn on a game based on the announcers, as I’m sure non-sports fans are more apt to tune in based on a woman calling or commenting on a game. These thoughts are only my opinion and are also open to debate as well.

Something amusing about soccer – and a subsequent television commercial – is the slide by a goal scorer. Hopefully without injury, there’s usually a Martin Gramatica-like jump by a player after hitting the twine and a fist pump. What happens next is knee slide on the grass that Geico has lampooned in one of their advertisements – and one that I can’t get enough.

That’s it for now, come back tomorrow for a man that wears sliding pants to work, DJ Eberele.

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A man amongst men. Cheesy Bruin kicked cancer to the curb - twice. The Cheese Man's a big, tough teddy-bear who survived the Bronx despite being an unabashed Boston Bruins fan and Sargent-At-Arms for Angry Ward's Urban Spur Posse. Nuff said. Doctors have taken most of this throat and had to make him a new tongue from thigh-meat (his own) and still he won't shut up about the Bruins, Cowboys, Pirates and Cleveland Cavaliers. And yes, his kids do love him.

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