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Mud in my Studs2018-09-28T21:05:02+00:00

Tennis, anyone?

Jill signed up her daughters, ages five and seven, for tennis lessons at an indoor club in Vista, N.Y., on the border of Fairfield County, Conn. She requested that her daughters be grouped together, a request that was approved by a club employee. Upon showing up for the first lesson, Jill learned that her girls would be grouped with two other girls, both 8-year-olds. As the girls warmed up with their instructor, the mother of one of the eight-year-olds approached Jill. “Are you the mother of that girl?” she asked, pointing to Jill’s five-year-old. “Yes.” “How old is she?”

Too slow to throw

For too long we have tolerated time-wasting on throw-ins. Players protecting a lead have turned clock-milking into an art form. They amble to the ball. They pretend to wipe it dry. They rear back, only to fake the toss while gaining a few yards and burning a few more seconds. Next, they express mock frustration at their motionless mates. Sometimes, early in this charade the thrower hands off to another teammate. A few tweaks to the rules would end this chicanery. One, whoever handles the ball first has to throw it in. If that player gives up the ball,

She’s a special player, just ask her dad

Jim took up a spot on the sideline for his daughter’s first travel soccer game. As the game began, another father, Teddy, stepped up beside him. Quickly, Jim learned that Teddy held his own daughter in especially high regard. “Take it all the way, Kris!” Teddy bellowed. “Only four more players to beat, Kris!” The ball is lost in a tangle of legs. “Oh, Kris, great job!” A minute later, Kris is dribbling up field again, and Teddy is foaming again. “Go Kris, that’s you Kris. Beautiful, Kris! Oh, do I love that girl.” Teddy’s stamina was remarkable; he

Travel team prisoner

Scott has a 16-year-old son who plays soccer. The boy had played on the same travel team from age eight through age 15. Frustrated at the team’s lack of success, Scott arranged to have his son try out for a more competitive team. When his son made the team, Scott went to tell the coach of the boy’s original team. The coach, Pete, was furious. “I’ve coached this team for seven years, and this is what I get?” Pete railed. “You can’t abandon me like this.” Pete would not release Scott’s son from his team, so the boy had

Hold keepers to the clock

Remember the rule that keepers have to play the ball within six seconds of possessing it? Apparently, some referees don't either. During the World Cup, time and again keepers laid on balls, like a bird hatching an egg, or slow-stepped to the top of the box, draining well more than six seconds. On goal kicks, keepers have elevated time-wasting to an art form. No one is better than Denmark's Kasper Schmeichel, who moves with just enough pace to give the faint impression he is trying to get on with it. It is maddening to see a keeper cheat off 30-45

Stick a card on that mouth

It happens all too often in soccer. From the opening whistle, the ref puts up with smack talk. He fails to push back, and with each disputed call the rant grows. Before you know it, three or four players are ganging up and screaming in the ref's face. Exhibit A unfolded at the 2018 World Cup match between Colombia and England, when ref Mark Geiger, who, after calling a penalty kick, let Colombian players berate him for five minutes. By then, fans were screaming even louder at their TVs. That kind of gap snaps the pulse of a good match.

Curfew kerfuffle

On a Saturday night, Jeff took his eight-year-old son Chip to see a men's college hockey game. The game ended at 10 p.m. As soon as they got home, Chip went to bed so he could rest up for his own hockey game the next morning.             Chip rose at 6:30 and got to the rink at seven for his game, which would start at 7:30. As Jeff walked toward the stands, the father of another player approached.             "Did you let Chip go to the UNH game last night?"             "Yes."             "What time did he go

Balloons on the Mailbox

The Parent-Teacher Organization at a high school offers people a thoughtful way to congratulate seniors during the week leading to their graduation. For five dollars, people can buy a balloon that says, “Congrats Grad!”, and write a personal message on an index card that is taped to the balloon. A PTO volunteer attaches the balloons to the mailboxes. People can buy as many balloons as they like, for as many graduates as they like. Many parents buy one or more balloons for their own child, as well as balloons for the child’s friends. Come graduation week, some graduates

Dad Plans Ahead for Softball Prodigy

Dad Plans Ahead for Softball Prodigy The athletic director at a New Jersey high school took a phone call one day from a father who was considering moving to either that town or a neighboring town. The father explained that his daughter played softball. He wanted to know about the school’s program – its record, state rank, the coach’s credentials, and the number of players who had earned college scholarships. The athletic director shared what information he could. He then asked the father if his daughter would be an incoming freshman. “Oh no, my daughter will be entering

Stop with Stoppage Time

Why does only one person know when a soccer match will end? It’s time to do away with extra time and the controversy it often invites. Here’s how it could work. The ref starts each half with 45 minutes on his watch. The watch is synched with a clock on the scoreboard. Each time the ref sees a need to add time, he simply pauses his watch. When play resumes, so does his watch. This way, everyone will know when and why a ref has “added time” (but really frozen time). More importantly, players, coaches, and fans will

The “bottom 90 percent”

Every spring at a nearby high school, administrators play host to a breakfast to honor seniors for exemplary academic performance. The principal announces the names of students who rank in the top ten percent of the class. One year, the school received a complaint from the mother of a girl who was not in the top ten percent. She pointed out that she had signed a right-to-privacy form that prohibits the school from releasing any information about her child to the public. She claimed that the breakfast event violated her daughter’s right to privacy. As she told the

Fake soccer injuries: here’s a solution

Players faking injury – it’s the curse of soccer. Sadly, we see it at every level, even at the World Cup. A player goes down, grabs his leg, and wails at the sky. The ref checks on the player. Time drifts by. Finally, the player gets up and fake-hobbles to the sideline. Play resumes and the ref waves the player back on. The player pretends to limp for a few strides, and then bursts into a full sprint. Think about ice hockey. How would fans react if a player, upon taking a tap to his shins, falls to