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My goal is to post liberal talking points to combat those from the right.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

May the Best Team Win: Or how to live and learn to love the instant replay

I am old and grew up with American sports where the emphasis was always on, “may the best team win”. At first this sounds ok, but having lived with it, I find it capitalistic and boring. The American “best team” is usually the richest team. The team that can buy the best players, or in youth sports, the team that can "recruit" the best players. And after they spend the money, they deserve (?) to win, ala NY Yankees or LA Lakers.

In recent World Cup games there have been some bad decisions made by referees. This is too bad (meant sincerely). It would be nice if the referees were super-human and made no mistakes. And if the goal of the sport is for the best team to win, this is disaster. But I would ask you to define “best team”. In American sports it is easy. In basketball, LA Lakers are the best team and they win most of the time. To be sure the best team (Lakers) prevail, there is a 80 plus game season and seven game tournament series. This would preclude a team other than the "best" from accidentally winning. Kinda like Germany accidently beating England. Maybe England and Germany should have the best 4 out of 7. Some would argue that England is a better team than Germany and should have won. And if there were more referees, like American sports, and instant replay, England would have prevailed. But I say, on that day, Germany’s skill and luck prevailed. If you want to review referees’ decisions after the game to decide if they are fit to continue as referees, go for it, but dont ruin soccer with the American instant replay.

If there is a god, soccer god that is, please tell FIFA to forget the instant replay and play on.

For youth sports, I wish the emphasis would be to have a good, competitive game and the hell with the “best team”.

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