HOW TO FIX SOCCER

Any random alien that had the misfortune of blundering into an earth landing would certainly assume that every living soul on the planet is thoroughly captivated by pro sports.  The airwaves and internet are completely saturated with breathless hourly coverage of pro athletics by talentless hacks and toupee wearing sportscasters, (completely bald if black ex athletes).  There is an apparently endless level of interest in the groinal condition of obscure lefty relievers, the personal grooming habits of star cornerbacks, and the sneaker preferences of starting point guards.

However, there truly are millions of people who don’t give a rip about pro sports.  Sometimes this is for highly understandable reasons, such as a preference for movies based on Jane Austin novels (there are apparently two thousand of these), those that prefer hiking or kayaking to memorizing box scores, or those afflicted with the zombie virus.  .

However, I believe there are millions of possible pro sports enthusiasts out there, who simply find the games to have become endless plodding snooze-fests.  .  Major league baseball consists mainly of batters stepping out to pull on gloves and adjust their privates.  Games can take four hours, more if there are extra innings.  You really have to be reading a novel, or grooming your cat, or something productive to fill in between the minimal actual pitchin’ and hittin’.

So, clearly sports needs some livening up if they ever hopes to attract new fanatics.  I humbly offer the following rule changes to speed up the games and reinject excitement into sport.  I am only covering the big five sports here, you will have to come up with your own ideas to how to liven up golf, dog and cat shows,  competitive hot dog eating, etc.

Here is my guilty confession, I actually played this game when I was young.  I loved it, you can play even if you are short and scrawny, (which I most certainly was then).  Fortunately for me, I was fairly fast, a skill I developed in order to dodge the bullies that wanted to assault me due to my spindly physique and geeky personality.

Despite having played the game, AND having two kids who played (at times severely handicapped by having me as their inept coach), I never watch the game except during the World Cup.  Partly this is due to the shitty level of play in the US, partly due to the fact that other than Messi, NO ONE EVER SCORES.  One goal games are the norm, can you believe that anyone watches when you are 80% sure that the first goal will be the only one scored for the game?  Ninety minutes of play, with absurdly athletic and podiatrically gifted young men in shorts running every which way, and a fluke goal essentially seals the deal?  I played, and I can’t watch the game.

In the US, I know I am not alone.  Although worldwide, people are so passionate about the game that they name their children after guys that scored one career goal, Americans are far are happier watching re runs of college football games PLAYED TEN YEARS AGO!!  This is really understandable, given the dearth of scoring, or broken ribs, or even cheerleaders.

So, out of the goodness of my heart, and the hopes that someday I can generate $50 of annual revenue out of this hapless blog, here are my suggestions as to how to improve pro futbol.

  1. Increase the size of the goal. This one is the easy, a true no brainer.  Make the goal 2 feet taller and 4 feet wider.  This would increase the size of the goal by 75%, and I figure double the number of goals.  Who wouldn’t want to watch a 10-8 futbol game?  I would.
  2. Eliminate offsides. Currently, the defensive players lines up with each other to prevent offensive players from getting into the attack zone, (for neophytes just trust me on this). Using arcane rules and alchemistic interpretations, (learning the rules takes a week of instruction, I have been through the training myself), offsides is an exciting choking defensive technique.  Offensive activity is stifled, breakaway attempts are minimized to once per month, and goal production is minimized.  Why not open up the game, make defensive players cover guys one on one rather than send us in frustration to the Oxygen Channel for excitement? Offsides call suck, they are killing what could be a cool game.  Or the one goal in the game happens when the linesman is bribed to ignore an actual offsides play.  Eliminate this death to excitement in the game.
  3. Kick ins, not thrown ins. If you know soccer, you know that when the ball goes over the sidelines the last team to touch ball goes on defense and the other team gets a throw in. OK, here is game where touching the ball is a big, fat hairy no no.  But in this one instance, you can throw the ball, although you have do it under a series of boring rules that just make it impossible  for 7 year olds to do.  This makes no logical sense, AT ALL.  Why not give the team going on the offense a free kick?  Throw ins are a snoozer.  Kicks are at least consistent with the rest of the game, and moves the game along a whole lot faster.  Kill the throw in!!!
  4. Consistent with my basketball advice, attract female fans by playing a shirt vs. skins format, with all players in speedos. Come on gals, wouldn’t you suddenly give a rats ass about soccer if you could get closer visual confirmation of Victoria Beckham’s assertion regarding David Beckham’s package size?  I figure conservatively that the sport could double its fan base, and quadruple the LGBT following.
  5. Automatic expulsion and two game suspension (without pay) for blatant flopping. The game is infested with charlatans flopping given the slightest nudge by an opposing player.  The game has become an international laughing stock, based on the fact that players actually practice creating fake penalties.  .  I propose having a couple of theatrical critics man a replay booth, and anyone falling down has their performance evaluated. If found to be floppers, the offending players get immediately sent off for the remainder of the match and the subsequent two games.  Their team plays shorthanded for the remainder of the game.  And the current reigning Ms. Universe questions their manhood by mocking the replay of their cheating performance on youtube until their two game suspensions are up.  Oh, they get docked three games pay.
  6. Substitutions during any stoppage in play, guys can go in and out at any time with no restrictions. Why in futbol to you only get to play until subbed for, then you are out for the game?  This is stupid.  Essentially the bench guys never play, and the players look like they are wearing cement shoes at the end of the game.  NO OTHER SPORT HAS THESE RULES.  Let’s run guys in and out, so the stars don’t get too tired to play.
  7. No one watches women’s sports, not even women. You may not like to hear this news, but hey, you seen the stands at a women’s soccer game?  Box Lacrosse gets more fans.  I thought, As long as we are thinking up ways to get more fans for soccer, how about the distaff game?  This one is so easy, it makes me embarrassed to bother writing this.  Have the gals wear bikinis; track and field, gymnastics, ice skating,  and beach volleyball are already there.  Other than Mia Hamm, name one female soccer player.  The ONLY name you will come up with is Brandi Chastain, undistinguished and obscure UNTIL SHE TOOK HER SHIRT OFF!  Is there perhaps, just maybe, a lesson here?  Maybe 200 fans would show up, rather than 100, (note that this is way more impressive sounding when you say attendance was up 100%).   This is assuming the players start getting drafted based on looks rather than their kicking  abilities, but a game with integrity that NO ONE watches doesn’t matter much does it?  Before you condemn me, remember, you have gottenthis advice is free.
  8. There are 11 players in futbol, including the goalie. I suggest that five players not be allowed to cross the midfield line, ever. The most players on defense, FIVE.  Forget packing the defensive zone with eight or ten players.  The offense is also limited to five players, but five on five beats five on ten every time.  Currently a team scores a goal, and ten players pack the defensive zone.  Wake me up when the highlights are on.  OK, probably there aren’t any beyond the one goal that somehow gets scored, unless you are down with the  raw thrill of watching multimillionaires kick balls  haplessly wide of the goal, (I estimate that there are five actual shots on goal including near misses per team per game).  You can show the highlights in about two minutes.
  9. When the game winds up in a tie, rather than penalty kicks how about five on five with free substitution until a goal is scored? With no offsides, and bigger nets to shoot at I bet there would be actual game winners.  Penalty kicks are a close second for most boring elements of professional sports, next to basketball free throws. Kill this tiresome game segment.
  10. Cheerleaders on PIP, alternating with hooligan fights. This combines sex and violence.  Anyone bored of the actual game can watch the split screen where boobs bounce or skulls spurt blood.  Tell me YOU wouldn’t watch more futbol, if all that fun was going on during the game?  You might watch 2nd division play featuring Portugal vs. Zimbabwe, if the cheerleader uniforms were skimpy enough or there was actual artery popping on PIP.

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