Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Hand Ball

I'm not a futbol fan--soccer for you hicks. The only times I choose to watch soccer is when I'm suffering from insomnia 'cus it kicks the crap outta counting sheep. But seriously, kids, if you have occasional insomnia Baca recommends pills & booze--but only in moderation, of course. And even I heard about the recent knockout round match in the (futbol) World Cup between Ghana and Uruguay. The reason I heard about it is because it ended in a shoot out that Ghana lost after a late in regulation goal attempt by Ghana was "blocked" by an Uruguayan player (in the goal) (not the goalie) swatting the shot away with his hands. For those of you not well versed in the ways of soccer the rest of the world calls it futbol [football] because you play it with your feet, unless you're the goalie, and using your hands (or arms) is a no-no.
So what's the upshot of a play that literally robbed one team of a game winning goal with an intentional foul? The player was red-carded--given the boot--Ghana received some form of penalty kick (which they apparently missed) and the guy who committed the penalty is a national hero and every sports talking head I've heard called it a great play.
So what gives? Is this modern sportsmanship? If so is paintball over doing it? I mean you could commit every infraction in the rulebook and still not alter the outcome of a single point much less a whole match. I'm just saying.


sdawg said...

It's an excellent point, and a great example of how "cheating" in paintball is overstated, as is the "bad reffing."

Here's the real tragedy of the World cup http://huff.to/9HAsz7

BUT WAIT: a happy ending after all! http://bit.ly/akvhrE

raehl said...

I've watched the Cup officiating controversies with some interest. One thing that is apparent is that they don't have enough officials on the field to see everything. The other is that the game is getting out of control as the honor of playing by the rules is being replaced by the strategy of playing the most effective way possible given the rules and their enforcement.

I think 20 years ago the locking of the goal with the hands would have been widely condemned. Now it's a controversy. In another decade or so it will probably be widely considered the best strategy.

The takeaway from paintball is that you can't use honor to keep the game played a certain way. Players are going to do what is effective, so the options are add officials, change the rules, or accept that behavior is valid strategy (i.e., late-game fouling in the NBA to force possession changes.)

Juan said...

Hi Vaca,

One thing that is very different in Soccer is that they reject the use of technology, and the game is kind of stuck to its old ways where it is like "the game of life" in other words unfair.

The reffing for world cup was terrible, to a point where fifa has announced their first meeting for discussing the use of technology to improve reffing.

The player is a hero, he did what he had to do to save his team and get them to "sunday", but the Red card and penalty kick weren't enough, even if Uruguay would have won today he was still suspended for another game.

To wrap up my point.That player wasn't right, but did what almost any athlete would of done in desperation and even more considering that out of all teams Uruguay classified in last pLAce from South America and had to play Costa Rica ( Central American last seed) to get to Cup. These guys dug deep to get to a 3rd-4th. On the other hand, I think the ref should have granted the goal, to be fare. And Fifa should get its act together and have instant replay reviews for key decisions to avoid loosing control over players cheating so much that it dramatically changes the result of a tournament.

Paintball should be strict. Players will always cheat but there has to be control. I think we come a long way from old 10man days where the cheating stories were insane.


Anonymous said...

The penalty gave Ghana a penalty shot but the BIG thing is that they (ghana) Missed it! Ghana had the chance to win that game but they didn't.

raehl said...

That's silly. That's like if a guy on the opposing team wipes a hit and then shoots out three of your players, but the "penalty" is that you get to replay the point.

If a shot has a 100% chance of going in, and the penalty for blocking that shot with your hands is a penalty kick that has an 80% chance of going in, then any player is going to use their hands to stop the shot. And then you're not playing futbol anymore.

Baca Loco said...

It is with genuine sadness that I agree with Faction's last comment--at least philosophically--but first we have to acknowledge that the circumstances of this particular hand ball were uncommon but still well within the rules for what penalty to assess. And further stipulate that soccer seems to have managed well enough without rewriting their rules on the basis of unlikely outliers.
So, let's turn the situation around a little bit. To basketball, where the rules require free shots be taken for certain kinds of fouls and/or their frequency. If Faction can see a weakness in soccer's structure as a game in this hand ball situation what becomes of the game of basketball when one team shoots forty free throws compared to the other team's ten?

Don Saavedra said...

" And further stipulate that soccer seems to have managed well enough without rewriting their rules on the basis of unlikely outliers."

I don't think a fanatical fanbase that eventually stops complaining because the gap between tournaments is 4 years is the same as "managed well enough."

Turning to Basketball, they have a situation/rule that more closely mirrors this, and funnily enough the infraction is called "Goaltending." In that instance, the points are automatically awarded and play resumes as though the basket were scored normally. Overall I feel that NBA officiating is fair, and that most often than not a disparity between team foul shots is usually better explained by an equal disparity in aggressiveness and play in the paint. 3-point hoisting teams tend to shoot fewer free throws. Sure, you can point to individual games that seem to upset the trend, however the trend still holds.

Juan said...

This is not like whipping a hit and getting 3 guys out. This was more like hiding in the woods and shooting the players out from behind.

There is a rule in place for handballs, that occur once in a while, but Suarez ( the adHoc goalkeeper) went beyond a handball. He cheated in a way that stopped a goal that was 100% /no doubt going in.

raehl said...

I think it's more like wiping the hit. There is a rule on the books for what happens when a player intentionally uses their hands to manipulate the ball. There is no rule on the book for shooting players out from off-field - it is so flagrantly outside the mechanics of the game as to not even have been considered.

I think it's silly to cite that Futbol doesn't change their rules due to outliers. Futbol has been around for 100+ years. Paintball has been around for 30; and the current format less than 10, and the current format with the current technology less than that.

Anonymous said...

Talking about association football, world largest sport in the same paragraph with paintball is bit delusional at best, but lets roll with it. I always found paintball something that quite struggles to beat surfing and table tennis, but hey.. what do I know.

IMHO. paintball attracts so many wierdos, geeks, supersoldiers and honour bound knights of the 21st century that we still have that retarded concept of cheating around that we do. Whats wiping? Its a very basic move you do to win the game and taking your chances of referee calling a major game altering penalty for it. That's it, its no more different that any penalty given in most team sports. Everyone who has ever played any other teamsport than paintball, this is obvious. Thats why you regulate, thats why you have referees on the XBall field.

But like I said, we attract the wierdos, knights and other muppets, ending up with playerbase who has way too high wierdo to normal ratio. This causes HONOUR OF PAINTBALL discussions to raise into actual topic.

First guy who figures out why paintball playerbase is the only sport playerbase who spends all the time online talking about trivial things such as markers and new pants rather than the games they just played or the coming field layout, also figures out what is wrong in paintball. Go to young hockey or motorcross or any other sport forums and you see them talking about the game, not about the equipment or other mundane things. Go to any PB forum, and no one talks about the game, everyone keeps japping about a gun that shoots 100% same as the gun next to it.

We aint a sport until the game comes priority.

Baca Loco said...

What I was trying to suggest was a thought experiment of sorts. On one hand we have what seems to some an inadequate rulebook because of an admittedly very rare circumstance. In the other example we have a very clear and straightforward rule that is ripe for routine abuse--whether it happens or not. So which is the better rule and more consistent with the spirit of the game?
[Re: NBA officiating. Regular season called differently than post season, statistical home floor advantage, star system, seniority trumps floor position]

Use your imagination--assuming you have one. This particular hand ball scenario raises lots of interesting questions; Is it cheating or simply a rules infraction? Has player/spectator perception of cheating changed over the years and do the rules need to take that into account?, What's more important, the mechanics of the game or the spirit of the game? -- and what role do the rules play in finding that balance?

I don't think your observations about paintballers in general apply equally to the subset of tourney ballers. I think a more valid comparison might be what percent of tourney ballers are actually hobbyists as opposed to competitors.

Baca Loco said...

Anon (again)
Otherwise I don't disagree with you.

Reiner Schafer said...

Anonymous makes some good points. The game needs to be the priority. That's why I think it's counterproductive to be lumping ALL paintball into one heap, as some seem to feel the need to do. Other than the fact that we all play with a marker that shoots a gelatin filled sphere, paintball the sport has very little in common with paintball the hobby and recreational activity.

Competitive paintball needs to seperate itself more from those other genres and needs to stop trying to make nice-nice with everyone else.

The wannabe pros that talk shit and spend more time obsessing over their gear need to be put in their place. A pecking order needs to be established and unwanted behaviour nneds to be pointed out and those that contribute to it singled out and ridiculed if need be so they know they are there to concentratre on skills and tactics, not clothes and equipment. Yeah, I know that's not politically correct, but so what.

As far as cheating/penalties goes, you can't even compare a sport like soccer (football for everyone outside North America) and paintball. In soccer the action is concentrated on one point (the ball) and in paintball, it's concentrated on each individual player. So if there are 14 players on the field, there are 14 different points of interest and 14 different points that need to be watched and concentrated on. In soccer, there is basically one official to oversee 22 players, and for the most part he can handle that job fairly well. There are usually 2 or 3 players involved in the action and the rest are doing not much more than wandering around trying to get into better position so they might get the ball and get involved in the play. If any of the players do anything blatantly stupid like puch or trip another player not involved in the play, the penalties are quite severe (yelow card, then red card with ejection out of the game for the rest of the game and the team plays short for the remainder).

In 7-man paintball (14 players), there really need to be a minimum 14 officials to catch everything. Otherwise, cheating just becomes too easy to do. I don't have a problem with cheating becoming part of the strategy and a risk/reward tactic, as long as there are enough officials to minimize it being a dominant startegy. As long as the penaties are hash enough and there are enough officials to catch almost all of it, it won't be any different than any other sport.

raehl said...


I was watching some interview with Michael Jordan a few years back where he kind of explained how when the official was looking a certain direction, you could get away with more contact on the opposing player than you normally would.

There is always going to be a line you have to play in any sport between pushing the envelope and getting called penalties. How hard can I push this other player before it's a penalty? How/where can I grab them? But most of that falls in the realm of impeding movement.

Every sport has some activities that are clearly considered cheating and not just rules violations. In baseball there is the corked bat issue. In lots of sports there is steroids. I don't think anyone considers steroid use to be a "rules infraction". The NFL had their controversy with the Patriots filming other team's defensive signals in violation of the rules. There was the baseball team that got busted for having a guy in the outfield stands relaying the signals from the catcher to the pitcher through a base coach and to the batter.

Those are what I would consider 'meta-gaming' violations and what most would consider clear cheating. I would argue that intentionally using your hands in soccer is a meta-gaming violation - not touching the ball with your hands is what makes soccer soccer. A bit too much physical contact with another player doesn't change the nature of the sport you're playing.

With paintball, I don't think the whole honour thing is a result of the people who play it, it's a result of NECESSITY. If players don't play with honor, the game quickly degenerates into NOT paintball, because in many circumstances honor is the only mechanism we have to make sure we're still playing paintball. Imagine playing a rec game at the local field where everyone wiped hits if they could get away with it. How long do you think most people would keep playing that? It's certainly not paintball anymore. But there are never going to be enough officials on a rec field to call people out even most of the time, so the only way we can play paintball in many circumstances is relying on the honor of the players.

Players don't bitch about 'honour' because they are some weird breed of person, they bitch about it because they hate it when they shoot somebody and they don't leave the field. That's pretty much everybody.

And that isn't just a paintball thing - play ANY sport in a rec environment and you rely on the honor of the players. Even in a pick-up game of basketball, you rely on the honor of players to either not commit or honestly call fouls, and if some schmuck calls a foul on you everytime you block his shot, you won't keep playing with him.

You need different rules and different officiating when you can't count on your players to play with some level of honor. If FIFA can't count on players to not intentionally block shots with their hands, then they're going to have to adjust the rules so the risk/reward isn't worth it or they are going to see more and more players doing it.

Anonymous said...

There is a huge difference in honor bound regulation of other sports, such as basketball you mentioned than paintball, where in rec situation you can cheat without anyone ever catching or even seeing you do it.

That just comes with the rec situation, its impossible to regulate and we all know how well things like "honor" in the long run work, it does not.

Rec-balling should not, ever be even molded into competitive mind and should always have some sort of instant respawns nearby or such to keep it clean. The current model of recball is just like big games, cheating galore.

Everyone who keeps playing recball seriously or buys equipment to recball rather than just rent it, is a wierdo in my eyes. If you visited a rec game in last five years or so, where people play with their own equipment you would have noticed how dirty the game is. They cheat in a single game more than you see cheating in year in tournament scene.

You can't fix recball by trying to emphasis some grand paintball honor, you fix it by growing the sport of paintball, played in regulated field, a competitive sport further and finally separate sport from the rest. A parthway where you start playing sport of paintball directly without a stepping stone of recball needs to be addressed and figured out.

Reiner Schafer said...

How many golfers buy their own equipment to play recreationally? How many skiers? Skateboarders? About 100 other sports/hobbies? All wierdos?

I will agree with you that you can't fix recball by emphasising some grand paintball honour, if you feel it needs fixing. I do actually think it could use a little fixing, at least to get more people taking part. I'm not sure what you mean by "you fix it by growing the sport of paintball, played in regulated field, a competitive sport further and finally separate sport from the rest". If you mean getting the wannabe tourney players off the rec fied, I would agree that would help (won't completely fix it though). I don't have a problem with competitive paintball recruiting from the pool of recreational paintball players. Having said that, I think both would do better in the long run if they were kept seperate, including seperate venues.

Anonymous said...

I was merely implying that people who purchase better gun eq more firepower in terms of rof and force feed loaders to rec games are somehow flawed in their set of thinking by turning rec ball into a game of winning when it can not be regulated. Playing to win a rec game or getting equipment to mown down muppets in recball tells two things about that baller to me a) hes afraid of real challenge and b) hes a wierdo thinking that something can be won in a setup that cant be regulated. So why does be gear up to play recball?

All i am saying is that recball is beyond my comphrehension, i started to play tournament paintball from the start. Times i have been in recball games i always wondered what exactly makes it fun. Player cheat alot, wiping, out of bounds movement, dmw, talking and informing teammates while marked, mysterious respawns into same round, etc. Gear differences in recgames are much more effective than in tournament play where rofs are strictly regulated. In rec, half of so called good rec ballers crank rof up to 18. refes are few and hardly even care about the play itself rather act as mobile " keep your masks on, use a barrel sock" signposts. Hell some player even take it more serious than making to sunday tournament players. If you cant see somethig wierd in all that i guess i have been to some really shitty recgames.

Reiner Schafer said...

Why climb a mountain? Because it's there and you can.

"So why does be gear up to play recball?" Because he can. The technology is there. It's marketed to them. Paintballs are cheap enough at most rec fields to feed the gear. Why not?

It seems to be part of many people's nature to take advantage of other people. It even seems to be part of many people's nature to want to inflict discomfort on people. How many people pick on or tease others (especially in their teens) with no consideration for those people's feelings? The behavior you have seen and described at rec fields is unfortunately not that uncommon. Is it weird? I don't know. I don't think that I would consider something so common as weird. But it's not good.

Hey, I'll be the first guy to wish the muppet mowers would move onto a tournament field and stay there. But chances are you wouldn't want them either.

But I do believe you have played at some shitty rec fields. God knows there are enough of them around. But there are fields where that type of behaviour does not abound.

Missy Q said...

If the people that gear up for rec-ball are wierdo's, then wierdo's are 85/90% of the market for non-rental equipment sales. Wierdo's are therefore the reason there are paintball stores in existence, and the reason companies continue to make product.

So go out and shake a wierdo's hand today...

Reiner Schafer said...

Good answer Missy Q. Let me shake your hand. :-)

Don Saavedra said...

... because playing with gear that doesn't suck is more fun.

How is that hard to figure out?