Well, as we’re in the dead zone between the end of the season and the Champions League final (here’s Jonathan Wilson’s intriguing match preview for SI, by the way), I now have to time to mull over those meta issues that surround the sport of football, including who am I, and what am I doing here?
And so on to a Tweet that stuck out among the many thousands I half read a day in trying to come up with ‘stuff’ to put on this ‘website’:
This RT: @thegrumpyowl: I don’t want to see an ump making calls in Yankee Stadium thinking he has to talk to the NY Post after the game.
— Drew F (@DrewGROF) May 16, 2012
This is of course, a ‘based-ball’ Tweet. But their sport, like our sport, has a long running love affair with the very human vulnerability of the men in black who have the final say on whether it’s a penalty or a dive, an out or a safe. In this case, this brought to mind a conversation I’ve either participated in or overheard countless times in my years being both alive and into the soccer. It usually follows an incredibly poor call from an official, and almost always features something similar to this sentence:
“While I’m not in favour of [INSERT OFFICIATING TECHNOLOGICAL THINGAMAJIG HERE], I do think referees should explain their decisions to the public after the fact.”
Beyond the simple reality that an ostensibly accountable referee is no less fallible than the normal kind, it’s a bad idea. For, if we adapt the above Tweet for a Premier League-guzzling audience, “I don’t want to see a ref making calls at Old Trafford thinking he has to talk to the Daily Mail after the game.” As if the awful pressure of dealing with the combined scorn of drooling, partisan morons and club players and staff, we want to haul Howard Webb into a press conference to explain his field of vision to Martin Samuel?
Spare us o Lord.
I think at this point, having been through the referees-are-terrible discussion more times than I’d care to remember, that we’re going to have some sort of chip-in-ball thing, and that’s about as good as it’s ever going to get. Other than that, c’est la vie.