Tuesday, November 20, 2012

HANDBALL!!!! Are you sure?

Monday Postgame: Handball law and order up for debate

A pair of 4-2 aggregate wins on Sunday sent the Houston Dynamo and the LA Galaxy back to an unexpected rematch of the MLS Cup 2011 final. The Dynamo got a first-half goal from Boniek GarcĂ­a and absorbed a late strike by D.C. midfielder Branko Boskovic to professionally see out a 1-1 draw that was good enough to advance.

LA saw their 3-0 aggregate lead threatened by a fired-up Seattle side, which took a 2-0 lead before a disputed penalty delivered a pivotal goal to the visitors, who advanced despite losing the second leg 2-1.

In today’s Monday Postgame, John Bolster takes a closer look at that penalty decision, and the handball rule in general, which is surprisingly misunderstood. ...

See the full story here, from MLS.com

Kicking Back Comments: A very good article indeed. One telling passage was this:

"The trouble is, most fans, coaches, and players — even some at the professional level — really do forget all about it. Or, more accurately, they’ve never looked at the letter of the law as it’s written."

... and the author is right. Just because one is a professional player or coach, has absolutely no bearing on if they understand the LOTG. It has been my experience many do not.

This is not a knock on players, and just a little one on coaches as their focus is winning games, not mediating them. That said, I would think a healthy understanding would be good for that audience. After all, referees at the highest levels are expected to know the personalities, tactics, and antics of the players and the coaches. I am surprised that many on "the other side" do not take the same time to understand our craft.

Next time you hear a player or coach, at any level, cry "handball", it is fair to pause and add a healthy dose of skepticism before rendering a decision. As you know, it is much more than meets the eye.

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