Friday, November 2, 2007

those Patriots

Well, I've been watching some football this year. The American kind. I've also been reading online about football. A lot of people seem to hate the Patriots - because they are awesome. People are accusing them of running up scores, and not being very sportsman-like. Here's a story:

When I was in High School, our JV soccer team ha
d a rule - we never put double digits on the scoreboard. So, If we were beating, say, Niagara Falls High School 9-0, nobody was allowed to score number 10. If that happened, you got benched. It was supposedly a fairness thing. Well, during one game, we were up 9-0. I was standing at midfield for the entire second half (I was the goalkeeper), and our best forward got the ball, and a breakaway. He dribbled the ball to about 10 yards from the other teams goal, and just stopped, left the ball there, and ran the other way. I was embarrassed for the other team. Isn't that worse than scoring lots of goals? To me, it was like, "Hey look, we are so much better than you, we are choosing not to score any more goals against you, because we can."

Here's another situation:

One of the better travel teams I played on had a similar rule. No double digits. There were exceptions on that team though. For the entire first half, we were allowed to play as usual, no matter what the score (we never scored 10 times in one half). If, at half time, we were up by 5 goals, a two-touch rule was put into effect. That meant that nobody on our team was allowed to touch the ball more than twice before passing it to someone else. That went on until we got to 9 goals. At that point, not only was the two-touch rule in effect, in order to score another goal, each of the 11 players on the field had to touch the ball, uninterrupted, in order for someone to be allowed to even take a shot on goal. If we happened to score again, nobody was in trouble. I liked that better. Sure, it was still an unabashed display of how much better we were than the other guys, but at least it was useful - it was not easy to make goal number 10 happen. It required a lot of skill, from everyone involved, and it required us to really focus on our system. Those 10-0 blow-outs actually enabled us to be a much better team when we had tough games.

So, back to the Patriots. What do people reall
y expect? Should they just not run the ball back for a touchdown when the other team's quarterback fumbles the ball repeatedly? These are professional athletes, true competitors. These are folks who are paid millions of dollars to be amazing at what they do. I say, let them score until someone figures out a way to stop them. I don't think that the Patriots should be told to play worse, everyone else just needs to play better!

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