Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Some thoughts on the soccer, the world sport.

It's World Cup time again. Every time this comes around, there's soccer fever everywhere. I'm not a soccer fan. I don't follow the sport and I'm just not very fond of watching a soccer match. Personally, I think there's a lot going on in the game, but just not very much is accomplished. It's too difficult to score; just too many things have to go right for the offense and many things have to go wrong for the defense to score. I would suppose fans of the sport would argue that that's exactly why they like the sport. I respect that, but just not my cup of tea, I guess.

That being said, here's just a couple of ideas that might make the game more watchable for myself...

1. Have fewer players on the pitch. 11 vs 11 is just too much. Often, you have 7 or 8 guys running offensive sets trying to take on all 11 defensive players. The goal area gets too packed and it's just not fun to watch. You almost always have to have a lucky bounce to have a chance at scoring. If there were fewer players, there would be better spacing on the field. This means that better players will be able to utilize their skills rather than be suffocated with 2 or 3 defensive guys pressuring them.

2. If you're going to have 11 guys on each side, at least limit the number of players allowed in the goal area. Again, spacing is the issue here.

3. Get rid of the off-side rule. I don't understand why they have this rule in the first place. What's the purpose? To lower the scoring rate of an already low scoring game? Doesn't make sense. If you don't want the offense to have an advantage by planting their players behind your defense, then the defense needs to work and adjust. They shouldn't be bailed out by the refs.

4. Get rid of the player disqualification thing. It's completely unfair and makes the game horrible to watch. I'm talking about the 2 yellow cards equals 1 red card which equals player disqualification. The fouling team loses a player for an entire game. That is, they go 10 vs 11 players. It's already hard enough to score with 11 guys so it's now near impossible to score with just 10. And the team with 10 guys often just give up on offense and focus on defending. So they pack all 10 guys around their goal to defend it, making it near impossible for the other team to score. There are other ways to penalize the fouling player/team. One way I just thought up of is to just limit that player's movement either to the front or back half of the field. That is, he is now stuck playing either offense or defense. Have him wear a sash or something so that he's easily recognized. If he crosses the half field line, then DQ him.

5. Allow instant replay. The field is too large and there are too many players for just 3 referees. Let them use instant replay because often, the foul that's called is wrong. And penalty cards are very often issued for the wrong reason. Soccer players are known for flopping. You touch them anywhere near the lower body, they'll fall down and grab their shin. You touch them anywhere near the upper body, they'll fall down and grab their face. Use instant replay to determine the right call for the foul and to determine if there's any flopping going on. Flopping should be penalized just as harshly as fouls.

6. Get rid of the goal keepers. How fun would this be?!

7. Put 2 balls on the field! The field is large enough and there are enough players. Why not?!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Clipping nails in public

Is it just me or would most people agree that clipping your nails should not be done in public? To me, the grossness is about as much as it would be if someone was scratching their scalp such that their dandruff fell onto people nearby.

Yet somehow, this disturbing practice is becoming more and more common here in Hong Kong. I've personally seen it on trains and buses. On the ferry, I've once heard the distinctive clipping sound before I quickly got up and went to the other side of the boat.

Why do people think this is acceptable? First of all, it's littering because they scatter their clippings everywhere. So they should be fined. But most of all, it's seriously just gross. Nail clippings are bodily wastes. Certainly urinating in public is universally unacceptable, so why not clipping nails?