An Academy Award Performance

I had a soccer game last night and it has gotten me thinking not about goals or passes or saves or even throw-ins. It got me thinking about dives.

I found this definition on Wikipedia (a source I will not allow my students to use as a resource but I feel in no way hypocritical for using it here) – In football (soccer)diving (simulation is the term used by FIFASchwalbe (German) is a popular term) is an attempt by a player to gain an unfair advantage by diving to the ground and possibly feigning an injury, to appear as if a foul has been committed.

Now I have heard many people complain about all the diving and theatrics in professional soccer and some won’t watch it because it is so bad. I agree – it is way too prevalent and I do think it diminishes the game a lot. But even at the coed recreational old people league, there are those who use the dive and use it all the time.

Midair dive

Look! He hit me from behind and then ran in front and pushed me and I fell down.

I hate these people.

Last night a guy on the other team completely faked a takedown in the box and ended up earning a penalty kick. For those of you who don’t know, penalty kicks, or PKs, are very hard to stop and often result in a goal. So we were down 1-0 and this guy got positive reinforcement for cheating. He had, just prior to this acting gig, tried to accuse me of tripping him. We both went for the ball and we both got there at the same time. Somehow, he fell and kicked me in the knees on his way down. The ref did not call anything but this guy was on the ground a few yards from me like I had laid the best NFL tackle on him and then stomped on his chest, just for good measure. Now, I can be aggressive and I do admit to knocking down that chick later in the game (she was in my way, in my defense), but I did not touch that guy. I shoulda known that he’d pull it again (and again and again).

This doesn’t just happen in soccer, but also in hockey and probably in most other contact sports. Maybe it even happens in baseball, although I’m not sure what advantage it might give you there. And while I get that a good dive can result in a penalty that will give your team an advantage, I just don’t know how these divers can feel at all good about themselves or think they earned any goals or points they may get as a result. Because really, it is cheating.

Of course, maybe I am just jealous since I can’t dive if my life depended on it. First, I really don’t want to fall on the turf – have you ever had turf burn? Hurts like hell. Second, I freakin’ want the ball so if you do run into me or try to knock me down, I do everything I can to stay on my feet and get that ball (and if you had tried to hit me, I may also offer a little payback as I get near you, but you did it first!). And lastly, I don’t have much on the pitch, but I do have my pride. And diving/cheating would take that away, too.

Or maybe it’s that I don’t have any acting skills and any attempt to get away with anything like that would likely result in me looking really foolish. Acting lessons might help. I’ll have to give that some consideration. And then prepare my acceptance speech.

“I’d like to thank the Academy…”

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