We learn rules in a lot of ways. It starts with our sainted mothers who give the rule and often explain what will happen if you fail to follow her guidelines, “Keep doing that and you will go blind.” Later our teachers rule and then rat us out, “Kenneth does not play well with others.” As with many of my lead ins, none of that applies to what follows.
The problem with rules is a reoccurring one. It happens every four years. The Olympics throw a pile of sports our way — ones we may watch every four years. Here are athletes doing thing that seem quite strange. There is usually a guy there in a different outfit that runs around the field with them blowing a whistle. I know about safe, strike and ball and how they are quietly reported. I get off side and personal foul and the arm waving that ensues. You see; I know the rules.
Then the Olympics hit and I realize things are really all about rules — rules I don’t know. Announcers are fan-boys. They know the rules. Who doesn’t know the rules? Hands fly up everywhere but the announcers booth.
That really got pounded in yesterday. I surfed my way to girls (ladies? I don’t think so.) field hockey. I sort of get both hockey and even a bit of soccer. In those games your defense try to recover the item in play and send it to one of their players. That makes sense. If the other guy gets to keep the ball, he has a chance to score. The other guy scoring is bad. So, you do as dire a thing to them as the rules allow or you feel the need to break them for the good of the team.
When did Field Hockey become civilized? I bet OSHA had something to do with it. We all remember the OSHA cowboy. Team field sports should have a bit of carnage. A bit of blood and the occasional tooth should decorate the field. So, I am watch Field Hockey and it seems almost choreographed. You can see the skill and dedication. They are holding these inverted Shepard’s crooks and really whacking away at a tennis ball. But, when it looked like someone on the other team wanted it, whistle and then an in-bounds play.
So, I moved over to water polo. Lot of actions but it didn’t seem like the rules were anything close to the old game I saw four years ago. Now there was a timer and, yes, no stealing allowed. The ball would sail into a free area and the defense would politely wait for the offense to recover it. The old game was a free for all. Water Polo got OSHAized.
I did see a bit of boxing and, yes, they were being allowed to hit each other. I hope they still can four years down the road.
Thanks to the well wishers. Getting old seems to be my last talent left — after Black Friday anyway. And even there my presumed talent came and went just like my memory.