There are a lot of irritating things about sports. The fans (looking at you ‘Bama, Jets, Yankees enthusiasts), the commercials (looking at you FLO FROM PROGRESSIVE), the $11 beers, cheapskate owners (OBVIOUSLY LOOKING AT YOU JEFF LORIA), pompous players with an outsize opinion of themselves. But almost all of these sports-related aggravations are off-the-field matters. The games themselves are for the most part, beautiful.
There is however one dastardly phenomenon that continues to sully the good name of sports everywhere. It is an increasingly alarming problem that must be stopped, lest we anger the gods of athletics and sportsmanship to their breaking point; leaving them no choice but to destroy us all (or to leave us only with NASCAR as punishment).
We are of course talking about the shameful act of FLOPPING.
For those unfamiliar, flopping is when an athlete shames himself, his family and his country by pretending to be fouled in an effort to gain some benefit, be it free throws, a penalty, or perhaps most embarrassingly, getting an opponent in trouble. The flop is achieved by reacting to the slightest bit of contact in an exaggerated manner, which may involve any of the following (or combinations thereof):
1. Crumbling to the ground as if hit by a sniper in the rafters, then proceeding to writhe around, sometimes covering one’s face and slamming the ground in faux agony. Some like to top this off with loud screaming or moaning for added effect.
2. Rocking back and forth on the ground, holding the allegedly injured body part, while grimacing with your eyes closed. I like to call this the ‘grimace and grab‘ technique.
3. Lying face-down on the ground and remaining motionless, in an effort to convince the referees that you may or may not have been paralyzed by the crushing blow dealt by your cruel opponent (for which he should definitely be suspended for the pivotal upcoming Game 7).
Aside from being wimpy and classless, flopping is also cheating. It’s disgraceful, repugnant, and daggumit it is un-American! If we’re about anything in this country, it’s the spirit that we can whip you fair and square (drones, tax loopholes and subsidies for big corporations notwithstanding).
There are flopping cheaters everywhere in our midst. They are on our basketball courts, our football fields, our ice hockey ice places, and most especially our soccer fields. Soccer players continue to willingly debase themselves – sometimes just for a lousy free kick – more than any other athletes. Obviously I’m an American so I don’t care about soccer, but I’m concerned about the influence these ridiculous floppers are having on our children.
Do we want our kids crying to the ref every time they get hip-checked in life? Do we want them to flop their way through school, whining about every little thing? Do you want your kid to grow up to be like Manu Ginobili? I shudder at the thought.
Flopping reveals an attitude of defeat, and it says a lot about one’s character. It’s indicative also of the greedy, heartless, hook or by crook society we’ve become. A society that tolerates flopping is the same society that tolerates Enron and all the greedy devils who pushed us toward financial ruin.
We need to reclaim the beauty and integrity of our games. The floppers must be stopped. I’m going to give the last words to the great MEATLOAF, who wisely perceived the need for boundaries in this life: “I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that.”
We need our athletes to have the integrity of the ‘Loaf, and say, “I would do anything to win, but I won’t flop.”
*This post is dedicated to my boy J, one of the great quarterbacks of all time, who to my knowledge never once flopped on the football field. He did however crumble like a sack of bricks after taking an errant shot below the belt in indoor soccer that one time. Sorry for laughing so hard at that.