Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Simpsons?

Soccer News: “The Simpsons” And Soccer - The Beautiful Game Goes American Main Stream

After twenty-five years of the famed The SIMPSONS, this ultra popular show embraces soccer with a celebration inspired by the upcoming FIFA World Cup.

The 25th Season of THE SIMPSONS Kicks Off with an Episode Inspired By the FIFA World Cup™ from FOX Broadcasting Company. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of Soccer Nation.

Kicking Back Comments: I am looking forward to this episode  but this is not the first time that The Simpsons has incorporated The Game into a story line. I recall an episode called The Cartridge Family where Homer and family go to a match, and start a riot ... classic Simpsons.

A horribly taken video shows the scene below ... funny stuff. I'm sure Homer living the life of a FIFA referee will be classic too.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Angry Birds ... AR Version

It's not this angry bird ...


It is however an angry bird attacking an Assistant Referee during a match:



Check out the whole thing here, courtesy of dutchreferee.com.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sepp, you have failed ...

Sepp Blatter: Fifa president calls for zero tolerance towards racism

Fifa president Sepp Blatter says football's world governing body will "have failed" if it does not adopt a zero tolerance approach to racism.

Uefa opened a disciplinary case against CSKA Moscow this week after Manchester City's Yaya Toure complained of being racially abused by their fans.

Blatter said: "If we are not able to go zero tolerance, we have failed." ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of the BBC.

Kicking Back Comments: Sepp, you have failed. You farmed out this serious issue to a committee lead by Jeffrey Webb who is asking why there are not more managers of color in the UK, when another serious racial incident occurred (and Platini started to blame the referee!) ... Sorry folks I called this one in 10 Matches is not enough.

Sepp you have failed, in failing to follow through on your words of points reductions, suspensions, or relegations for racists.

Sepp you have failed, in actually thinking that a handshake is a cure for racism.

Sepp you have failed, in bolstering a simple (5) match ban for racism. Are you serious? We are still at (5) matches?

Sepp you have failed, to not take a proverbial hammer to these people, and expel them, forever. You want to make an impression, suspend the next player guilty of this behavior for all eternity with no opportunity for a reprieve. You will get everyones attention, and get wide support for it.

Sepp, you have failed.

Monday, October 28, 2013

It's about time ...

Majority-woman crew officiates Division II football game in apparent first for NCAA

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The officials sprinted around the field keeping order, throwing flags and even telling the Miles College band to hush once.

It was a typical college football game Thursday night except that four of the seven people wearing the black-and-white stripes were women. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of the Washington Post.

Kicking Back Comments: Stepping into a situation generally dominated by another group is hard. By all accounts these ladies did very well. It would be stunning to see a woman in the NFL. I think it would be good for the boys and certainly challenge their perspective.

There is one disadvantage that I see however ... particularly with football ...

I believe (truly) that it should be compulsory for a referee to have played the sport that they will now officiate. It does not have to be at the same level (in fact in many cases it likely can not be as there is nearly an equal time spent "making the pro's" as a referee as it is as a player) but at a level where a referee can develop a sense of specific empathy for a competing player. 

For me it was easy. I played from age 5 on straight through to college ... and even after in far more limited circumstances. It help me develop a sense of empathy that I carried forward throughout my career.

My concern with the ladies in football is the same. Some may have certainly played full contact, and good on them for doing so. Some however may not have, and leaves open the possibility for a criticism of these referees that may be justified.

Please note, I believe this is true at the highest levels of the respective game, al la, MLS, NFL, NHL, NBA, and their respective farm teams.

I don't believe this is necessarily the case in some sports even at the collegiate level, and certainly not any level below that. Refereeing should not be reserved for "former players only." 

But I do believe that former players have a slant as a referee that others do not, that helps them manage the highest level player better than those who do not have that experience.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Maybe David Lee Roth ...

Tim Roth to play Fifa president Sepp Blatter on film

British actor Tim Roth is to star as Fifa president Sepp Blatter in a film about football's governing body.

Provisionally titled F2014, Gerard Depardieu will also appear in the movie as Jules Rimet - one of Fifa's founders and its longest-serving president. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of the BBC.

Kicking Back Comments: Don't get me wrong, Tim Roth is a very talented actor indeed and I am sure will portrait Sepp better than the real Sepp could ever hope for.

What I found funny in the article was that the real Sepp found some "similarities" to Tim Roth in real life, to which I had to think that the real Sepp was more akin to David Lee Roth's character in the below video, not the distinguished actor Tim Roth.

What's that about art imitating life ... or something like that?

Sepp TV indeed.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

In their own words

So the other day I wrote about the umpire crew in Game 1 of the World Series getting it right in the 1st inning, in "We have to get it right ... ."

Well as if on cue, we have this article, from Masslive.com, that goes into a bit more depth and has direct quotes from the crew and MLB director of operations.

A fascinating look as to how it happened, and how they worked together to correct it.

Friday, October 25, 2013

My definition of insanity is ...

Sepp Blatter: Fifa president hints at increased term

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has given his strongest hint yet that he plans to stay on in the role past 2015 and finish "his mission".

The 77-year-old Swiss, head of the world governing body since 1998, also wants to increase the term for a president from four years to eight. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of the BBC.

Kicking Back Comments: I am a fan of term limits personally. Even in cases where the leadership is exceptional, and remains so, there is a need to build a "bench" to allow others to be ready to take the reigns when the term naturally expires.

In the case of a leader who is not performing, term limits clearly help to minimize issues that are created by a failure of leadership ... which I believe is the case here.

While good in principle, age limits on FIFA referees serve the same purpose where particular physical prowess is required to manage matches at the international level. The issue becomes in my opinion, that I think the window is a bit too small currently. Optimally a term window allows the leader to learn, grow, and become optimally effective in the role. In the case of the FIFA referee, with mandatory retirement at 45, I believe one skill set just coming to play, that of life experience to manage the international player.

I would opine this skill set is just coming around at age 42 - 48, and at a time when physical fitness does not diminish significantly ... and I mean statistically significantly based on published reports ... to effect the performance. So while the head of FIFA has overstayed his welcome, I think their refereeing core is being cut short just a bit too early.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

"We have to get it right ..."

Was the mantra of members of the World Series umpiring crew, after an initial incorrect call in the 1st inning at 2nd base, which was soon overturned by a huddle from the crew ...

In this case the manager was mic'ed up and you can hear the umpire crew clearly saying "We have to get it right ..."

The game received justice as a result as Napoli then hit into the gap for a double, clearing the bases in the process and allowing a team that was penalized, to not be. Correctness won over pride, or even tradition.

Kudos for the crew for this. We should all aspire to this "get it right" behavior for every match we do.

You can see the whole article, and video here, from CBS Sports.

... and as a post script ... there was no instant replay used folks.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Professional Courtesy Goes a Long Way

I have to say after watch Games 5 and 6 of the ALCS, being a MLB catcher looks like no fun at all. Here is one view why:



Ouch.

Avila would eventually leave Game 5 due to this collision with a knee injury, but return for Game 6.

Game 6 was not much fun for Avila either as besides the Tigers losing the game to put the Red Sox in the World Series, he took a wicked hit from a foul tip right in the mask. It is what happened just before and just after that got my attention though.

Immediately before the mask cracking foul tip, home plate umpire Dan Iassogna to start the inning cleaned home plate as they typically do. Well only a few pitches later, Avila was hit and clearly stunned by the foul ball. It was obvious on the video as he swayed back and fourth and went to his knees for a second.

No doubt Iassogna was concerned as you could almost make out the two talking through their masks. Now, to save the embarrassment of a trainer coming out, Iassogna himself stalled the game to give Avila a few extra moments to collect himself ... by cleaning an already clean home plate.

There was no reason for Iassogna to do this except as a professional courtesy to Avila to give him an extra second.

It to me highlighted the special relationship home plate umpires and catchers share throughout a game as so much of the game is decided right there between those guys.

It was really cool actually, and makes me wish catchers and home plate umpires were mic'ed up ... well ... maybe not after seeing this (explicit language warning ... it is funny though and highlights different traditions in different games):

Monday, October 21, 2013

Finally a good case for instant replay ...

Of course it is in Snooker =)



This does highlight however a great interaction between a player and a referee, and while a mistake was made, shows that everyone can have a sense of humor about it.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Touche

You have to love a referee with a sense of humor.

Here is a classic!!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Super Romario to the Rescue!

Romario launches another FIFA attack

Brazilian congressman and former soccer star Romario has launched another attack against FIFA, calling president Sepp Blatter ''a thief'' and secretary general Jerome Valcke ''a blackmailer.''

The comments from the former Brazil striker came at congressional hearing promoted by a tourism and sports commission on Tuesday.

He continued his attack against Valcke with a post published on his website on Wednesday, saying the FIFA official isn't the ''best person to do business'' with Brazil ahead of the 2014 World Cup. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of Fox Soccer.

Kicking Back Comments: Still waiting for FIFA to "officially" comment on this one.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Requiescat In Pace Blue

Veteran MLB umpire Bell, 48, dies of heart attack

NL crew member's resume includes one World Series, three All-Star Games

LOS ANGELES -- There was only one umpiring crew working Monday night when word of Wally Bell's death circulated, which made the ensuing hours very difficult, especially for six members of a very tight umpiring fraternity.

Bell, a veteran umpire with 21 years of Major League experience, reportedly suffered a massive heart attack on Monday in his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio. He was 48.

Crew chief Gerry Davis was informed of the news about an hour before first pitch of Game 3 of the National League Championship Series between the Dodgers and Cardinals in Los Angeles. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of MLB.com.

Kicking Back Comments: A very sad day for his family, blood and refereeing, and indeed for us all. Today we all bleed blue.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

You have to hide your bias ...

Has everyone seen this by now? It is Torii Hunter going ass over tea kettle in front of Boston PD detail officer Ken Horgan in the ALCS game 2, where Big Papi hit the ball out of Fenway in the bottom of the 8th to tie Detroit 5 - 5, and allow the Sawks to go on for the win.

What's wrong with this picture though?

Photo courtesy Boston.com.
Take a look at the reaction of Officer Horgan as Hunter is in a dangerous free fall over the bull pen wall. There are two points here.

  1. As referees we are there to help both sides, and it would seem that Hunter was in the need for some help to make sure he did not get seriously hurt. Officer Horgan is more focused on celebrating than on helping. At the very least, helping to contain a possible injury.
  2. Based on the reaction alone, it is clear where the bias is. If I were a Detroit fan at Fenway that night, do you think I would get a "fair shake" if an incident occurred with a group of Boston fans given the bias on display here?

So let me pan back and say that I am fairly sure the Officer helped sort out the scene in the picture and without question would have helped of something went seriously wrong. Also, I would opine if a Detroit fan was smack in the middle of all of this, the Officer would do the "smart" thing and simply escort the Detroit fan out. I don't believe Officer Horgan would ever do anything in derogation of his duty.

After all, he was just reacting to a truly historic event as any human would.

Referees can't do this however.

Imagine, just imagine, even if youth soccer somewhere if a referee reacted to a home town goal in such a fashion even if an even as dramatic (on a youth soccer scale) as this one.

Can you see the fallout?

Can you hear the fan(atics)?

Do you think the referee will work that league again?

It's hard ... really hard sometimes to suppress any bias or personal feelings about matches we are refereeing. Most of us are fans too and have to deny ourselves that side of things when we are out there ... and if at the professional and international level ... suppress these feelings in public too.

It sounds sad, and a touch unhealthy honestly ... but the contrary result is shown above, where just a moment of well intentioned emotion can crumble a career for a referee.

It has long lasting effects too. Recently I was at a Revolution match and was asked who my favorite team was. I really had to struggle to think and could not come up with any. When asked why not, I answered that I had been a referee so long that I saw The Game through an (almost) purely neutral eye, and while appreciating the skill of particular players, it did not reach an emotional level for me.

Granted it is a little odd, and Jr. still "doesn't get it." That's OK too as I want him to love The Game in all its glory and feel those moments that just want to make you throw your hands up and scream.

Don't feel too bad for me though, I spend my days yelling at the TV when the Boston Bruins are on.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Why Upgrade?

During a recent clinic I presented at, we asked for anonymous feedback from the group which included some open response questions, where the person giving the feedback could literally type anything they wanted relevant or not.

One thing that stood out in more than a few cases, was the request for information specific to "... lower levels of competition." Due to the fact that "... I don't want to upgrade at all ... ."

I was struck by this feedback as it had never really occurred to me that some people are content at the refereeing level that they are currently at, and don't want to progress any further.

In my (ever growing administrative) experience the "upgrade question" is a one that is either asked often by an individual, or not at all. Only in very few cases have I seen a middle ground where an individual chooses to upgrade through the referee ranks, then changes course and does not. I have also seen a converse path as well albeit less often where a referee does not want to upgrade, and later chooses to.

While I appreciate the desire to remain at a level an individual is comfortable with, I also grow very concerned that folks in these positions get "stale" and may be doing themselves, and others a disservice by deciding not to upgrade.

Then again, there is something to be said for servicing The Game at the level one feels best equipped to, and (this is a hard truth for some too), there are very limited resources and matches at the highest levels to go around ... so why try?

These are fair points ... and I am wading into these waters not from a refereeing perspective honestly as my day is here and gone for upgrading. I can go no further than I have. I am asking from another perspective ... as a cyclist.

So on 14-OCT-13 I will be racing in the Jamestown Classic, and event that captured my imagination back in 2011 when I raced it for the very 1st time ... in fact it was my very first bike race ever. It was a ton of fun and from that moment on as an amateur bike racer, I knew I wanted to climb the ranks. Not because I was any good (I anticipate I am going to get creamed on the 14th) but because I wanted to get better.

So I've ridden, and ridden, have a spectacular coach, mechanic, friends, and a very forgiving wife in Madame X, and ridden. Freezing cold, baking sun, drowning rain, race after race of DNF or DFL, and comments of "... you're too old to race ... ." I didn't care, I wanted to get better and was willing to put in the work to do so.

Recently when preparing for my upgrade in cycling, I flashed back when I am on the bike to when I upgraded from a Grade 8 to a Grade 7 referee. A night match at U-Mass Amherst at the State Cup. I can still feel the night air. A bit heavy with a little tingle in it from the aura of being a match played at night.

I remember my upgrade match from Grade 6 to Grade 5 as a state referee. A Portuguese league match in RI that was "on the fence" until I happened to be right on the goal line (as a referee) for a deciding call.

National referee was another series of matches I recall too. None the least of which was at amateur regionals in PA, where after 3 days of matches I was selected for the mens final ... and was exhausted. My legs were cement, and my brain mush after so many matches in a short time. Some how ... we got through.

What permeated all of these experiences is how much work had gone into my craft and just how uncomfortable I felt moving from one point to the next. I have never felt "ready" to be at that next level.

So once more unto the breach dear friends, once more as I prepare to take another leap forward with an upgrade in cycling. For any interested, you will be able to see it LIVE starting at around 11a on the @kicking_back Twitter account.

Lot of words that may or may not answer the question for some, why upgrade?

To allow access to higher levels of competition?

To have a commitment to get better with a tangible goal as a result?

To keep hold of that "uncomfortable" feeling?

I'm not entirely sure, but for me, it is the feeling of continuing to move forward. It's not about good or bad performance, wins or losses ... just getting that little bit further the next time I'm out.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Plenty of Qualifying Action

Belgium, Switzerland, Germany book Brazil spots

Belgium, Switzerland and Germany joined the Netherlands and Italy at next summer's FIFA World Cup but there is still plenty to be decided on the final day of qualifying.

Belgium, Switzerland and Germany booked FIFA World Cup berths with a game to spare but the automatic qualifying places in four of Europe's nine groups will go down to the wire.

The Netherlands and Italy became the first European teams to get to next summer's finals last month and victories on Friday for Belgium, Switzerland and Germany ensured they joined them. But there is still plenty to play for when qualification concludes on Tuesday, as four group winers and the eight best runners-up destined for the play-offs will be finalised. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of UEFA.com.

Kicking Back Comments: Belgium's berth is particularly welcome who has not been at a major international tournament since around 2002.

2014 is looking to be filled with some classic sides ... and I'm sure won't disappoint.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Philippe Auclair Strikes Again

Revealed: The full extent of FIFA’s Qatar 2022 shambles

“Qatar will host the FIFA World Cup in 2022. VoilĂ .”

Sepp Blatter’s statement at the conclusion of last week ExCo in Zurich seemed unequivocal enough. This irritating matter would be laid to rest. The football world could now concern itself with more pressing matters, such as the forthcoming 2014 World Cup tournament, the build-up to which hasn’t exactly been trouble-free so far. Once the circus has left Brazil, there’ll be time, plenty of it, to assess the consequences of what the FIFA president presented as a fait accompli. Well, perhaps; and perhaps not. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of Yahoo! Sport.

Kicking Back Comments: VoilĂ  he says as if to announce satisfaction for the thing to be completed. Nothing can be further from the truth as this article clearly demonstrates.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Follow the Umpires Code

While not being a baseball guy as I have admitted in the past, I am a spots (sporting?) guy, and stayed up to watch the final pairing for the ALCS which opens this Saturday (the 12th) at Fenway Pahk.

In looking around for info, I ran across "Baseball's 25 Biggest Unwritten Rules" from the LA Times. While I certainly don't take them as the real set of unwritten rules (some clearly were, some clearly were not), I found one of them interesting ... Follow the Umpire's Code:


I smiled a bit because in thinking about it, there certainly is one, for all officials of the sport. There are traditions that have been around for years and years, and ones that have recently emerged that must be respected too.

One for me is to always, always, wear long sleeves when I referee. Regardless of weather, regardless of location. Some have called this a "Massachusetts" thing for some time, but my reasoning is simple, it is out of deference to how, I believe, referees should dress for a match.

If you take a look at how referees used to dress ...

Photo courtesy of Third String Goalie

... to me it seems clear we have lost our way a bit in referees being a bit more "formal."

Now I understand that a particular uniform is required per the LOTG and local associations, but there has always been something a bit more formal to me about long sleeves ... just a touch more respect for The Game and all of its participants.

With that as a backdrop ... what are your traditions for The Game?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Very Cool Site

So again cruising the internet superhighway, I happen to run across "FIFA Referee News."

This is a great site that "simply" lists the matches that FIFA referees from around the globe have participated in, AND includes a picture (many from the locker room) at some time during the event.

Very cool site that gives a real lens into that world.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Not Going Away ...

Protests disrupt Fifa visit to Brazil World Cup venue

Protesters in Brazil have disrupted an official visit to a football stadium being built for next year's World Cup.

A group of some 50 people stormed the Arena Pantanal, in the western city of Cuiaba, as it was being inspected by the Secretary General of Fifa, Jerome Valcke.

They shouted slogans and held banners criticising the huge amounts spent in preparations for the World Cup.

The incident raises new concerns about security during the event.

"Go home!" and "World Cup for whom?" read some of the banners carried by protesters - most of them striking teachers and postal workers. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of the BBC.

Kicking Back Comments: As I have opined in the recent past this issue is just not going away for FIFA. It will be very interesting to see how this continues to heat up and (IMHO) erupts in front of the world in July 2014.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Another winner!

The greatest trick Fifa ever pulled was to issue a Qatar weather warning

The 2022 World Cup is being built by slaves in a non-democracy, but that's not the issue for Sepp Blatter and co.

The indispensable English footballer whose metatarsal will snap four weeks before the 2022 World Cup is currently 12 years old, but Fifa is already worrying stagily about the temperature in which he will perform disappointingly. As for the 12-year-old Nepalese boy whose family are unwittingly saving for the chance to send him off in a few years to die laying the foundations of a stadio-mall, or the 12-year-old Qatari boy wondering not when his people voted for this, but whether they'll ever vote for anything at all … well, it would be much easier if people did not concern themselves with them. ...

See the whole article here, courtesy of The Guardian.

Kicking Back Comments: Another hard thinking article from Ms. Hyde. While I clearly get her message here, I don't know if I completely agree with her opinion about "non-democracies." I'll let you all be the judge in reading this most excellent article. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

And here they are ...

2014 US World Cup Roster by Position

GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS (6): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City) Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Jermaine Jones (Schalke), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC)

You can see the full details here, courtesy of US Soccer.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Tick Tock

FIFA Decision on Qatar Dates Could Come in 2015

After all the talk about changing the dates of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, it will be another year or more before any decision is made.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter ordered "deep consultations" Friday about shifting the tournament from the scorching summer heat in the Gulf country, saying a decision on the highly divisive issue might be delayed until 2015.

Blatter also reiterated that the tournament will definitely stay in Qatar, and said he will travel to the desert nation to raise concerns over the treatment of migrant workers involved in building World Cup venues, transportation links and hotels.

"The 2022 World Cup will be played in Qatar — that's it," Blatter said. "We don't know if it's winter or summer. I do not know what will be the outcome." ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of ABC.

Kicking Back Comments: To me "deep consultations" is similar to time wasting. FIFA themselves were crowing about "... anyone can change the (UEFA) schedule 9 years in the future ...", well we now have taken 2 years away from that and are down to 7. That is if we even get that long if the folks looking into the vote don't invalidate the whole thing.

No Qatar for you Sepp in that case I opine.

The move would seem an old political trick to let the heat blow over (every pun intended) and then have the discussion. It is similar to a conference committee, where issues of government are put to die a slow death. Next best thing is a study or task force.

What's that? FIFA Agrees to Set up Qatar World Cup Task Force?

I'm shocked.


Friday, October 4, 2013

Any bets?

FIFA Meets to Debate Winter 2022 World Cup

FIFA opened a two-day board meeting Thursday that will discuss whether to move the 2022 World Cup in Qatar from the traditional summer dates.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has been pushing for a switch but will likely meet opposition from Europe and the United States. They want FIFA to consult widely before agreeing to a change from the usual June-July slot to avoid the extreme heat in the tiny desert nation.

Officials from Asian and African confederations also said Thursday they have not yet talked formally about Blatter's proposed switch.

"We haven't had that discussion in (Africa)," FIFA board member Hany Abo Rida of Egypt told The Associated Press. "We're waiting to hear the explanation from the FIFA executive."

Blatter has raised the possibility of starting the tournament in November, while UEFA President Michel Platini prefers January. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of ABC.

Kicking Back Comments: Let the games (officially) begin. When FIFA comes back and says they are moving the tournament, the issue becomes legally ripe and we'll start to see the fallout.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

FIFA remembers Ghanaian World Cup referee

FIFA remembers Ghanaian World Cup referee

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter has expressed his sadness following the passing of Benjamin Dwomoh, who refereed at the FIFA World Cup in 1982.

Dwomoh's passing follows that of two other stars of the game - George Alhassan and Emmanuel Quarshie - in recent weeks. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of ghanafa.org.

Kicking Back Comments: Credit where credit is due, these are very kind words from Sepp in honoring a clear patriot of The Game.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Don't assume that just because they are pro's they know ...

Exit Sandman: Yanks' Rivera Bids Goodbye to Bronx

Mariano Rivera said goodbye to Yankee Stadium with hugs, tears and cheers.

Baseball's most acclaimed relief pitcher made an emotional exit in his final appearance in the Yankees' home pinstripes, when captain Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte came to the mound to remove him with two outs in the ninth inning of a 4-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night.

"It's time to go," Jeter appeared to tell Rivera. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of ABC.

Kicking Back Comments: I share this story not as a weepy goodbye to the NY hurler, whom I respect very much, but to point out that pro's don't know all the rules themselves. From the article:

"It was an extraordinary sight in a sport where a manager almost always goes to the mound to make a pitching change. Yankees manager Joe Girardi checked with the umpires to make certain Jeter, who is on the disabled list, could take part."

I have experienced this many times in my professional career as well. Pro's at times are clueless about the laws and their implementation.

Don't get me wrong, I applaud Girardi for asking, it was the smart thing to do. I also believe that even if not allowed, it would have been allowed that night ... but the point remains that you should not be fooled into thinking that a player or coach knows better because they are, or were a pro.

This extends to people that are older ... they are not necessarily wiser at all.

One of the very best pieces of advise I got from my dad when I became a youth referee was that when it comes to player safety and officiating a match, I was allowed to "talk back" (politely) to adults. Just because they are older, does not mean they know at all about what they are talking about.

How true this is ... most of the time.

I learned too that sometimes they are REALLY right ... and it can take years to discover it.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Giving up early?

Fifa have made 'a mess' of 2022 World Cup in Qatar, says Hugh Robertson

Hugh Robertson, the sports minister, has condemned Fifa for making "a mess" of handing the 2022 World Cup to Qatar but sees no option other than moving the tournament to the winter.

Fifa's executive committee is due to decide this week on the principle of moving the tournament, and is expected to agree that it should be switched from its usual time of June and July to earlier or later in the year due to the extreme heat during those months. Uefa's 54 member nations have already backed a move. ...

See the whole story here, from The Guardian.

Kicking Back Comments: I have to say I am a bit surprised that UEFA, and now Robertson are giving in so easy. I expected a much bigger fight than this. Then again, knowing TV giants are going to go bananas after the vote is taken in the next few days to actually move the World Cup, they may just be playing "kissy-face" with FIFA until the real fun starts.