Monday, July 14, 2008

BOOOOOOOOO.... (deep breath)... BOOOOOOOOOOOO... (deep breath)...

We open on a typical CFL crowd - let's say, oh, in Hamilton - booing loudly after a crucial call has gone against them.

One knowledgeable patron courteously informs those sitting around him that the call on the field made by the referees was, in fact, correct and they have no reason to be upset.

Word spreads quickly around the stadium that the decision on the field was the correct one and the fans return to their seats and give the officials a smattering of polite applause for their correct interpretation of the rules at a critical point in the game.

Ok, let's snap back to reality for a second if we could, after that little story that had more fantasy than Mariah Carey.

Most of the commentary I've been reading following Saturday's Saskatchewan/Hamilton game has been along the lines of "Oh those ignorant Hamilton fans, they were booing even though the refs got it right !!!11!!1!!!"

Maybe it's just me and my un-Canadian views on football but I guarantee the reaction to the deciding call in Saturday's game would have been the exact same in any CFL city. If not worse.

If that game had been in Taylor Field and James Johnson ran down Jessee Lumsden (hey - it's just a thought experiment, never mind the fact that it could never possibly happen) with the same outcome that we saw on Saturday, are we really to believe the intelligista that comprises the crowd in Regina would have accepted the decision of the officials with quiet resignation?


That's not to say the crowds in Regina are any more or less intelligent and full-throated than in any other CFL city. But, you better believe that Taylor Field would have been shaken to its core if the situation was reversed.

And how do we even know what the fans in Hamilton were booing about? They could have all been perfectly aware that the correct call was made - and they were booing the stupidity of the rule itself. Because let's be honest, that is the dumbest rule I have ever heard of. Even worse than no-yards, and no-yards is dumber than... than... insert reference to something dumb here (I went to the well and the bucket came up empty).

Moreover, since when did fans (of any sport) need a valid reason to express their displeasure with anything - especially officiating? Fans in Regina berate local radio personalities standing on the sidelines at football games because they "suck" (which they do, by the way). That's what is so great about being a sports fan - it requires very little logic. It can be a very nice escape from everyday life.

For example, I have a seething, white-hot hatred for the New England Patriots - and I really don't have a good reason for this. They have never beaten "my" team in a meaningful game (that would require "my" team playing in a meaningful game - no playoff wins in 15 years baby!) and they've never personally wronged me in any way. Mostly I just hate them because they're too good (Sure they're cheaters and steroid abusers, but I hated them long before that).

Now, hating something because it's too good does not make a whole lot of sense to me. I wouldn't hate a book, a CD or a plate of pasta because it's too good - but that doesn't stop me from doing it when it comes to sports. Rest assured if I ever see Tom Brady on the street I will endeavour to boo him until he cries like a school girl with a skinned knee.

What's my point in all of this?

I have no idea. I started out wanting to write about Hamilton fans being upset at the perception that their team got jobbed - and the reaction to it. But somewhere along the way I wandered off the path a bit. I suppose if I had to sum up, I'd say that booing officiating is perfectly acceptable regardless of the situation - if they didn't want to be booed they shouldn't be wearing the stupid zebra costumes. I just think it's pretty ridiculous for one fan base or the media to criticize another fan base for "ignorant" booing.

Except those American hockey fans, they don't know what the hell they're booing about.


Anonymous said...

Agreed. Since when did fans of any sport really, showing their displeasure have anything to do with rational thought, linear thinking or the rule book?

This hollier than thou position that rider fans have taken on the fumble through the endzone call makes me laugh a bit. If it would have happened to the riders, rest assured, the old dog shit on the front yard caper would be in full swing on some unsuspecting CFL refs terafirma...


Trebor said...

I've been away from the sask media so I havent heard much, though I did click over to mitchell blair and all he said was 'the rule is stupid, but it is the rule so enough said.'

I would be thinking rider fans should be saying thank god for the stupid rule, rather than commenting on how hamilton fans are reacting.

my limited understanding of the rule is that 'punching the ball' isn't considered touching and with the ball going out of bounds it has to be put back in the field of play, sideline to sideline this makes sense and I can even agree to the offense keeping the ball if it goes out the side. But you need sperarate rules for if it goes out the endzones.... has it ever happened before ?? I don't know, the endzones are so BIG it's not going to happen often.

Here is my question to the smart readers. Riders have the ball on their own 1, cates gets the handoff and is hit on the 1.5 yard line, DL helmet hits the ball out and it goes through the back of the endzone. Is that a safety ? would the riders really get the ball back on the 1??

Ken Clean-Air Systems said...

Apropos of Trebor's question, I actually emailed the CFL on Monday to ask a similar question. Which was basically, "What is the ruling if Hamilton had recovered the fumble in the endzone? Do they concede a single point and get the ball on the 30?"

Because there is no touchback in the CFL I was curious whether Hamilton has to give up a point? Because to me it's pretty ridiculous if they do have to concede. Buuuuut, if there is a rule in place that says Hamilton doesn't have to concede a point on a fumble recovered in the endzone - why is that same rule not applied to a fumble through the endzone?

I think Trebor's question is very interesting too - and something that I hadn't thought of. I'm going to email the CFL again with that question.

I still haven't heard back about my first query, so maybe the mighty Sports As Life has been blackballed by the CFL (delusions of grandeur anyone?). Last year after the Grey Cup I heard back the same day from the former head of officiating but no such luck so far.

Rest assured, as soon as I hear something back - you all will be the first to know.

Rider Prophet said...

Though I don't pretend to know or understand all the CFL rules, here's my take on Trebor's question.

There's a difference between the ball going out the back of your own endzone while you are on offense and the ball going out the back of the opponents endzone. If Cates were to get hit and fumble to ball out the back of his own endzone, I would think that would be a safety, just like when a kicker kicks the ball out the back of their own enzone. But in the opponents endzone the result is what we saw Saturday.

Does it make sense? Who cares, the call went in our favour this week... though I reserve the right question the logic behind the rule should it ever be used against us.

Cooper said...

Hey what channel is the Rider game on this week?

Ken Clean-Air Systems said...

Cooper, is there a joke in there I don't get?

All games are on TSN this year.

Mitch said...

I can hate the Twister Combo for being too good.

Ken Clean-Air Systems said...

I think you should hate yourself for having no self-control, rather than the perfection that is the Twister Combo.