Thursday, November 19, 2009
Spirit of The Game: A New Low for Soccer/Football
A classic story. France commits three violations (off side, two deliberate handballs) and directly scores a goal to tie Ireland. The goal is allowed to stand, and France unfairly beats Ireland on aggregate (that means they played two games and emerged victorious by goal differential/tie break). The referees seem to be absent on the play, missing all these infractions.
Why the uproar you ask? Why should Ireland care about losing a British game (Seriously, there are beautiful Irish stadiums throughout the country that forbid any sort of British based games to be played in them.. stemming from the famine and occupation atrocities of past centuries.. i digress.) to the French?
The key is what was at stake.
Despite the fact that gaelic football is more important than football/soccer, the Irish wanted to be part of the World Cup. Every country does. It's a global status symbol, and there is significant money involved.
FIFA likes to call their sport "the beautiful game" but sometimes it can be quite ugly. We have a world full of countries that raise players to dive and over exaggerate infractions to draw fouls. We have an outdated extra time system that makes no sense to the outside world. We have no replay or challenge mechanism in this day and age where these tools can easily be used to right the wrongs of normal human referee mistakes. I could go on with more stories of corruption and cheating throughout the world in this sport. It's not beautiful... it's downright ugly.
Ultimate... In the Same Position?
I can't be blind and say that ultimate and ultimate players are above making the wrong calls in games of importance. Put a worlds bid on the line and take out observers and cameras and we would have a much different game than we would otherwise.
However, I can say that ultimate has the following going for it
-Spirit of the Game, I think, has curtailed a lot of the incentive to cheat in most ultimate games. I rely on my opponent to make the right calls, and if order to do so I must in turn make the right calls as well. We can't rely on a 'parent' (observer) to step in.
-We're certainly open to using instant replay.. as was seen at CUC 2009.
-Our observer program seems to be growing and we are growing the pool of observers available for tournaments.