Sunday, January 27, 2008

Gamesmanship... or cheating?

In today's ultra-competitive world of pro-sports, gamesmanship is becoming a bigger and bigger factor in the outcome of games. Here are some things which tread the fine line between gamesmanship and cheating:

1. Sledging (or trash talking) is rampant in cricket. The motive is most often to disturb the concentration of the batsman.
2. In tennis, players grunt loudly when hitting the ball, wear squeaky shoes or annoy the opponent by varying the number of times they bounce the ball before serving.
3. In NFL and college football, coaches routinely take a time-out just a split second before the opposing kicker is going to kick a game winning field goal, thus making him kick again.
4. In basketball, fouls are an integral part of the game plan, especially during the closing seconds.
5. In soccer, players fake or amplify injuries, to pressure the referee to penalize the opposing player.

I'm sure there are many other such instances in other sports too.

So, whats the solution? On one hand, we could have stricter rules to prevent these things from happening. Or we could adhere to the principle: If you can't take it, you don't deserve to be there. I think there is no simple solution to this problem. Making rules stricter would take the fun and emotions (and ultimately spectators) away from sports, while keeping them unchanged would lead to more and more players finding inventive ways of gamesmanship.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The African question

Here is a TED talk by Andrew Mwenda, about how the well-intentioned aid to African countries, in the long run, is actually hurting the people it is supposed to help. The solution, he proposes is to enable measures to boost entrepreneurship, rather than simply provide people with food and medicines. A thought-provoking talk, which at first might sound counterintuitive to many.

P.S.: For some reason the video does not show up in a feed reader, so view the post to view the video.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Sydney test

All hail Mr. Jonny Fairplay, Ricky Ponting :) :

The Sydney cricket test between India and Australia had some really shoddy umpiring. 7 decisions went against India, and one against Australia. Why does this happen to every touring team in Australia? Isn't it time for cricket to come out of its stone age 'gentleman's game' era and embrace the fiercely competitive world that professional cricket is?