No Matter What – Stay on your feet

by Ivan Bobanovic | Last updated

More than ever, you can watch soccer games on tv and see the excessive diving and acting involved in the game.  With slow motion replays and hundreds of camera angles, every instant is caught and replayed over and over.  For the people live at a game, it might not be as apparent as events unravel very quickly and do not allow for much observation to occur.  However, the tv allows people to dissect a situation ten times over.  With the internet, plays can be cut out and made into a video for the whole world to see and process (i.e. YouTube).

From the people that are not avid soccer fans or that do not watch soccer often, you hear cries of how soccer is becoming a watered down acting match.  Players are flopping all over the field and falling even if there is no contact to simulate a foul.  This is most evident in the box as any foul results in a penalty shot.

For those that ARE fans of soccer, there is a deeper understanding as to why there might be such events and, more often than not, a blind eye is passed to the diving as the remainder of the game is left to adore and analyze.

Referee’s have a very difficult time dictating a clean game.  It is very tricky to separate what is and is not a foul.  With the added bonus of diving, the referees’ job has become nearly impossible.  Players have become experts at anticipating tackles and at simulating a foul.  You have to feel bad for referee’s because, to the naked eye, it does seem like a foul.

This blog is not created to talk about diving or how hard it is for referees, but is being written to tell players to respect the game, play hard, play fair and stay on your feet.  Diving is cheating.  Any type of cheating in any type of event is not right.

Put is this way: imagine your team is playing the championship game and the game is tied 1-1.  There are a few minutes left in the game.   The other team is coming up the field, the forward has the ball, beats a player and you, as the defender, begin to run over and stop him before he can shoot.  As you approach him, he visibly dives as you tackle him.  In a perfect world, he would get up and admit he dove and the game would go on.  However, the whistle blows and the referee points to the spot: it’s a penalty shot.  They score and your team loses.  Fair?  No.  Some people are of the mind that you need to do what you have to do in order to win.  Although that is true, cheating is not a reasonable measure.

Although diving is impossible to eliminate, it is possible to create a culture where players make an honest effort to stay on their feet and make plays.  No other player has truly made this effort game in and game out like the best player in the world (maybe of all time): Lionel Messi.

Although he is extremely skilled and capable of doing things with the ball the rest of us can only imagine doing, through the toughest of challenges and the toughest of tackles, he stays on his feet and strives forward with one thought in mind: keep going…and score.

When you stay on your feet, there are far greater potentials for success versus falling down purposely.  When players fall down with intent, they slow the game down, lose attacking chances that might have been developing, and, most importantly, begin to lose the respect of players and coaches around them.

Think about Cristiano Ronaldo when he first began playing for Manchester United.  He was young and very skilled.  What he often resolved to, however, was flopping to the ground very easily.  Consequently, referees began to be very tough on him and rarely-to-never gave him calls for fouls. What ended up happening was, Ronaldo was found being fouled very hard and getting no calls.  Eventually, you began to see a conscious effort by Ronaldo to fight through tackles and stay on his feet.  Ironically enough, he began scoring more goals and playing better than he had ever played.  Although not directly attributed to staying on his feet, it has played a big part.

Staying on your feet shows your respect for the game and gains the respects of those around you.  What do you think about diving in soccer?

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