Posts tagged ‘Pittsburgh Steelers’

OUCH! My Ankle!

Not being much of a pro soccer fan, I have been surprised to find that the sport can be compelling, at least in stretches.  For example, the 30 minutes of overtime between Italy and Germany was quite exciting.

However, I think the sport should be ashamed at the state of affairs in its refereeing.  In any one game, you might see players rolling around on the ground faking injuries as many as 15 or 20 times.  It became a source of immense amusement for my son and I to see not only how much faking was going on, but how often the faking involved holding a body part that seemed unrelated to any contact  (e.g. holding their head as if they received a concussion when they were accidentally tripped).  If these were all real injuries, the field would look like Omaha beach by the end of the game.

Why do they do it?  Because the referees reward them for it, of course.  It was pretty clear that on many occasions acting and injury-faking turned accidental falls into penalties and minor penalties into yellow and red cards.  It's disgraceful.  I know refereeing is hard given the speed of today's athletes, but for god sakes soccer has got to be an order of magnitude easier to referee than say basketball or particularly American football. 

Even more, I wonder why fans tolerate the pretend injuries?  Can you imagine Pittsburgh Steelers fans fondly embracing a wide receiver that faked ankle injuries two or three times a game to try to get an interference call?

Most all the regulation goals in later games of the world cup have been
scored on penalty kicks.  It seems that the game has devolved into
lofting the ball into the box and then hoping to draw a penalty, sort
of like a hail Mary play at the end of a football game.  I would love
to see the game opened up a bit to allow more scoring of real goals in
regulation -- how about eliminating the offsides penalty?

Big Ben and the Nanny State

By now, most will have heard that the young star quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ben Rothlesburger, crashed his motorcycle and sustained head injuries in part because he was not wearing a helmet.  You can bet that someone in the legislature will introduce a helmet law in the next week, since most nanny-state legislation of this type usually gets passed in reaction to one high-profile incident where some legislator can grab some press.

Here is what really upset me yesterday:  Listening to a sports-talk radio station yesterday talking about this accident, I heard a number of people call in and say the following:

"I don't blame Ben for riding without a helmet -- that's legal in Pennsylvania.  I blame the state for not having a helmet law"

Wow - you don't see the death of individual responsibility highlighted any more starkly than that.  Much more on the topic here.

By the way, helmet laws are a particularly interesting bit of nanny-statism, since motorcyclers are such a small percentage of the population.  In most states where this law gets passed, the votes of people who will never ride a motorcycle and for whom the law will always be irrelevant generally overwhelms the wishes of motorcyclers themselves.  I wonder how many women who piously preach that the government can't tell us what to do with our bodies typically vote for helmet laws that tell people, uh, what they can do with their bodies.

Increasingly, you hear people justify helmet laws by saying "well, taxpayers have to pay the medical bill if someone gets hurt riding without a helmet."  I addressed this argument that public health care justifies total control of our lives in this post on health care as a Trojan horse for fascism.  (and here)