Saturday, November 20, 2010

No Harm, No Foul

"In the game of life, genetics deals the hand, and society makes the rules -- but how you play your cards is up to you."

I stumbled upon the video below one morning last week after waking up at oh-dark-thirty for work and hoping a scan of YouTube's "Most Viewed" would snap me out of my morning slumber. It may have worked -- after all, it left a lasting-enough impression for me to be writing about it now.

The video below is of a really interesting trick play that has been done a few times before. The quarterback feigns confusion, which the coach feeds with commands from the sidelines. The center hands the ball back -- not through the legs, though -- and no one on "O" acts like the ball is live. Meanwhile, it is, and the QB takes advantage of the confusion to break away for a score.

I've written in defense of these sorts of plays many times before, and I know Kad Barma has done the same. Sports, much like life in general, is centered around rules. People like Bill Belichick (or the coach of the middle school featured here) make games fun to watch because they find creative ways to defy expectations while staying within the rules (bearing in mind, of course, that Videogate was really just the result of a misinterpretation).

Some people might say that trick plays like the one featured in the video below show bad sportsmanship or teach the wrong lessons to kids.

As emphatically as I can say something in a written format, I could not disagree more.

If there really is a problem with the play below, where do you draw the line? Is a play-action pass with a fake handoff unfairly deceptive? How about a quarterback's "quick kick" on third down that stuns a defense and offers better field position? A team taking an intentional sack in the end zone? What about a team with a lead taking an intentional fall in front of an open end zone late in the game, so as not to relinquish possession?

In my opinion, all those things are precisely what make the game great. If there were really a problem with one of the above, a fan's gripe should be with the league itself, not with the coaches or teams who think outside of the proverbial box.

To tie back in with the life metaphor, we should always call on lawmakers or executives to fix broken systems, all the while staying careful not to blame the beneficiaries themselves. Those who benefit from such systems don't have to become defensive or resort to sensationalist rhetoric (witness last Tuesday's city council meeting and the Master Medical discussion), but should at least take that little step back to empathize with others' points of view. Unfortunately, however, they often don't. To tie in again to Kad Barma, as he so wonderfully turned it back on the Chicken Littles today:

if this plan is exactly what these people say it is, (aka, the only thing standing between "many retirees" and certain death), how is it that we can possibly sit still, least of all those with the coverage who know best how it's saving their lives, and not fight tirelessly so each and every resident in the city also enjoys the life-saving benefit??

With regards to the health insurance debate and the problem regarding unfunded liabilities, no one is out to blame or hurt the retirees (the players). Many are rightly pointing out, however, that the 'game' is broken.

No comments: