Tag Archives: injuries

I’ve Been Shattered

I’ve made no secret at all about my dislike of mixed martial arts.  As far as I’m concerned, MMA is nothing more than human cockfighting.

Do I hold such disdain for boxing?  No.  Am I a fan?  Oh God, no.  But to me, it seems different in some way.  A lot of boxers – seemingly more and more these days – die as a result of their injuries in the ring, and this is hideously awful and depressing, but the substance of the competition itself still somehow seems different.  I wouldn’t want anyone close to me to take part in either of them, that’s for sure.

Now that I think about it, I think part of the difference for me is the fan reaction.  MMA fans seem to have more of a bloodlust than boxing fans.  That brings me to the point of this post: Anderson Silva’s now ubiquitous broken leg from last night’s UFC 8429 (or whatever).

I haven’t seen footage of the injury, and I won’t.  I have no desire to.  What I did see was everyone’s reaction to it, at least via social media: shock and surprise, followed by lamenting over the possible end of Silva’s career.

Last thing first: hey, it sucks when one of your favorite athletes hangs them up, especially when it’s not on his terms.  I get that, but, well, here’s the thing about that first thing…you’re shocked and surprised that a guy engaged in a fight got seriously injured.

HELLO.  THAT’S THE POINT.

Nobody gets into “The Octagon” thinking, “hey, I’d like to just roll around and hope the judges call it a draw.”  No!  They want to win, and the best way to do that is to knock your opponent out cold, or put him or her in such excruciating pain that they beg for the fight to end.  Hurting the other guy is the main objective of professional televised mixed martial arts.

Moreover, whether you’ll admit it or not…that’s why you watch.  People watch auto racing for the crashes.  They watch someone walk a tightrope across the Grand Canyon because the guy might fall.  And they watch MMA to see if one of the guys will grotesquely injure or disfigure the other.

It’s sick, and I don’t like it.  And part of me doesn’t even understand why anyone else would.

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Can’t Touch This

I went out for dinner tonight with a group of friends, and a couple were concerned about missing a hockey game on television.

(It’s October.  The temperature got above 80 again today.  It’s the second game of the season.  Chill.)

Their solution was to record the game and watch it later.  The whole thing.  All of it.

I mean, I get it.  It’s just that I don’t care about October hockey, and since I hadn’t driven, and part of the reason we went out was for my birthday, I felt obligated to hang out and watch.  The real problem was that I checked the score and saw that it was 1-0 after two periods.  Once that goal was scored midway through the first period, I knew we had at least 30 minutes of pointless hockey to watch.

Anyway, with the game being on, we talked a little about the sport, and the topic of icing came up.  In the past, if a player on a non-shorthanded team sent the puck past the goal line (but not into the goal) from his side of the red center line, and the opposing team touched it first, “icing” would be called, and a face-off would take place in the offending team’s zone.  However, there have been injury concerns about this rule, specifically because when guys are racing to touch the puck, someone inevitably gets drilled into the boards – or ends up crashing into them all by himself – at a high rate of speed and gets injured.

This is not the rule in international play.  The International Ice Hockey Federation has adopted what’s called “no-touch” icing.  Instead of waiting to see which team touches the puck first, if it’s an icing situation, the play is blown dead as soon as the puck crosses the goal line.

Apparently, the NHL adopted a different type of icing this year, called “hybrid icing,” that is used in the college game.  Now, if a player ices the puck and the linesman judges that a player on the opposing team would touch the puck first, icing is called.  The linesman is supposed to make this call as soon as the first player in pursuit of the puck reaches the face-off dot at that end of the ice.  If it’s too close to call, then the play will be whistled for icing.

This is crap.

First of all, any rule that creates more judgment situations for officials is a bad one.  Most of the time, there will be a clear leader in the race for the puck, but when there’s not, the linesman may have to make a snap judgment, and when that happens, eventually someone is going to get one wrong.  Don’t put your officials in a position to be wrong.

Secondly, sure, this should reduce those violent collisions, but why take a half-measure?  The league has already mandated that players cannot take their helmets off during a fight, for the now-popular “player safety” reasons.  So why, then, would you over-regulate a situation that two players willingly get themselves into (a fight), but only go halfway when it comes to a much more frequent game situation that can often cause devastating injuries?  It doesn’t follow.

I’m getting tired of sports leagues changing some rules in the name of player safety while leaving others untouched, or barely modified.  If it’s good to reduce the number of severe injuries related to collisions on icing plays, isn’t it better to eliminate those collisions altogether?

If the NHL wants to protect its players from one another – and themselves – no-touch icing is the only thing that makes sense.