23 June 2008

Diving in Soccer Sucks For Everyone!

Diving sucks. Period. It is cheating, pure and simple. It sullies the beautiful game and I think there is not a fan anywhere in the world who would disagree. But to those who say diving is an epidemic ruining football, that it's a world wide problem - I say not even close. Diving is a case of a few bad apples spoiling the bunch if ever there were a case.

I know it's not an American problem, an English problem, nor an Australian problem. I was in Australia last year and joined Tuggeranong Football Club. I saw no evidence of diving week after week - nor did I see it in the A League matches I caught on television.

Now, being back in the US and playing every weekend and watching a great many EPL matches and a few MLS matches, I rarely see diving. When you do see it (refernce Nani's actual headbutt and then faked retaliation against Lucas Neil) - the divers are lambasted by the players, fans, and the press.

So I'm not sure what football the "soccer is full of divers" crowd are tuning in to...maybe it still happens a lot in Serie A; but I hear a lot bandwagon haters who can't back up their claims with real data.

It should be noted that casual observers should not mistake players going to ground on contact as diving - as any athlete knows, it takes very little contact to bring someone down when they are running at full speed concentrating on a ball at their feet.

As fans of the game and particularly as sports writers, we have a responsibility. We need to hold divers accountable for theatrics. We need to encourage honest football, and let the unscrupulous wallow in their own shame and be properly hated by lovers of the game.

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