In the mail I have received, there hasn’t been much dissent about the 64th-minute misconduct in the MLS final just over a week ago. But if there are any doubters out there, take a look at another view of the incident.
One of the nice things about being married to a lifelong journalist who is now at the cutting edge of the changes that are taking place in the news media, is that I hear, almost without effort, about the progress being made.
As a result, a short time ago I made a progressive suggestion to “..the halls of shame in windy city..” (thankyou to contributor “omg not again” for that lovely phrase, which is on a par with another beauty “The Temple of Pure Thought”, which I received from a friend and occasional adviser about this blog). It was simply this: Set up a network so that the federation can reach every referee almost instantly when needed.
Since November 19, when the "FIFA post" went up, 2500 people have come to this site to read about it and to make comments. I am sure that most of them understood from the tone of the piece, and the farcical elements deliberately written into it, that is was satire, not sooth. But, as I was warned when I was retreading myself to change careers from scientist to writer(1996-97), there is a danger in using irony, satire, or as we say in the old country "taking the piss", because you have to write it in such a way that the reader "gets it". That some of the commentators on this site thought it was real means that I didn't do my writing carefully enough. But at the same time, I thought that the person who sent in the terse, succinct (and in my opinion, wonderful!) comment that said simply "Zing" would have made it easy for the readers who came to the site after he or she did. Not so. The "Welsh Dragon" (as another writer called me) had indeed "roared", but not everyone heard it. That is why I am writing this elaboration.
Some time ago I wrote that I would post a short piece telling of the demise of two-man officiating in college games. Ed and I were involved personally and we regard our efforts as a significant contribution to the development of the sport in this country. Luck, determination, professionalism, and a small group of good officials from North Texas all played a part in the events at the NAIA National Championships of November 1978 in Alabama . . .
On October 24th, I posted an article entitled “PRAISE . . . AND A SUGGESTION FOR CHICAGO”, suggesting that the referee program of the federation could establish a network of all referees, using it as an quick and efficient way of getting information--educational information--to every (or almost every) registered referee in the country. I ended the piece with this:
Imagine a short, pithy bulletin on some important topic, or recently-described problem, sent to referees every two weeks. What a great thing that would be! Get busy, Chicago; it’s not that difficult! I'll show you one tomorrow.
My “tomorrow” is obviously a bit late, but judging by the number of hits on this site, I’ve been keeping you entertained anyway. I have no excuses, but try this:
I’ll admit I was surprised when I saw the memo that the rules for qualifying as a National Referee had been changed, AND I was delighted that one effect will be to make it more difficult (read: raise the standard) to become one.
My position has been clear since the mid-nineties, when the requirements I had put in place were gradually eroded (read: lowered). I (and others) predicted that the changes back then would lead to there being far too many referees of questionable experience and ability at the top level. We were right, and I am glad that Chicago is finally coming to its senses on this issue.