Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's only a game


It's as devisive as religion don't you think?

Like religion people are either for it or not, and then if they are a supporter then that faction is again split into what team they support. At least football doesn't seem to be an underlying cause of wars...just minor violence & thuggery.

I confess to knowing nothing about the game of football, although I probably know a bit more than your average American, they do insist on calling it soccer and thinking that football is played by men wearing tight leggings and body armour and carrying a rugby shaped ball.

I maybe know enough to get a group of girls anyway, with a group of football obsessed blokes I keep my head down and when asked an opinion am able to pass comment on the colour of the kit (should anyone ever wear that shade of orange?) fit (or not) of the shorts and surnames - when forced to endure 90+ minutes (see, I even know how long a game lasts) of TV hell I can be relied upon to make jokes about most of the players names - this has been made so much easier by the habit of the UK clubs of buying up lots of foreign talent who must have it written into their contracts that a silly sounding name (to English ears anyway) is de rigueur*, however I would never, ever dare to judge whether a ball was offside or not. I've had the stupid rule explained to me enough times that I think I know the gist of it but to actually confidently call it? I don't think so, not when every self respecting football fan has an opinion on said subject.

A woman who dares to make such a call has to be damned confident in what she saw, I would say that any woman who wants to get in the pit with the guys and debate the whys and wherefores of what is essentially their game (in their minds anyway) would make tripley sure of her facts before even thinking of an opinion, let alone voicing one.

Before last Saturday the name Sian Massey was probably unknown outside of her home town, now it's a name linked with the suspension of 2 Sky TV sports presenters and the offside rule.
Ms Massey is a highly thought of young referee within the FA, she has been refereeing since her teens and made her debut as an assistant in the men's game in August 2009.
On Saturday she was one of the team officiating at the Liverpool-Wolves game when Richard Keys and Andy Gray, believing their microphones to be off, decided to make sexist comments about her ability to do her job, amongst the things said was;
"well somebody better get down there and explain offside to her"


Did it honestly not occur to either one of them that a women choosing to put herself into a male dominated arena would make sure she was at least twice as capable as any male counterpart of making the right decision and keeping up with the lads.

And it turns out that the offside she did/didn't call has since been judged to be “the sort of decision only a top-quality official, of whatever gender, would get right, a crucial decision that leads to a goal" according to Ian Blanchard, the FA’s senior national game refereeing manager.

Meanwhile Ms Massey is probably quite sick of the furore over, what was for her, one small, split second decision in the 5,400 other seconds (plus whatever time added on for stoppages etc. yawn) of the game. I dread to think of the chants that the fans will have pre-prepared for her next match appearance...

Some time ago a friend thought to help/patronise us girlies by explaining the notorious offside rule in terms he thought we'd understand, here it is, but prepare to feel patronised:

You're in a shoe shop, second in the queue for the till. Behind the shop assistant on the till is a pair of shoes which you have seen and which you must have.

The female shopper in front of you has seen them also and is eyeing them with desire. Both of you have forgotten your purses.

It would be rude to push in front of the first woman if you had no money to pay for the shoes.

The shop assistant remains at the till waiting.

Your friend is trying on another pair of shoes at the back of the shop and sees your dilemma.

She prepares to throw her purse to you.

If she does so, you can catch the purse, then walk round the other shopper and buy the shoes!

At a pinch she could throw the purse ahead of the other shopper and "whilst it is in flight" you could nip around the other shopper, catch the purse and buy the shoes!

BUT, you must always remember that until the purse has "actually been thrown", it would be plain wrong for you to be in front of the other shopper and you would be OFFSIDE!**

Word for the day: Abseits-Regelung - the offside rule

* for example: Andrei Arshavin, Carlos Costly, Danny Shittu
** thanks to Ian for the 'joke'

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