Not exactly a critical issue in these times of turbulence, but I was just in a restaurant getting a late dinner and a soccer game was playing on TV. I'm for the most part pro sports, philosophically at least (not necessarily economically, but that's a different subject). But I don't watch much and don't have any favorite teams in any sport. I can enjoy watching most sports for some period of time, all depending on what else is going on. But other than maybe the World Cup or the Olympics, I could hardly give a hoot who wins. I did however play soccer (football, for all you non American/Canadians) on a team through most of my childhood.
I loved playing the game and kinda sorta enjoy watching it...except for one glaring problem. They don't score nearly enough. For the viewer, it's a constant exercise in the build-up of tension as they near the goal, anticipation as they so deftly maneuver around the opposition and pass to their teammates, inching ever closer to potential victory and glory...only to end in another let-down as the ball is once again deflected and, one way or another, ends up halfway down the field in the opposite direction. Over and over again. For 90 minutes. Except maybe once or twice. And there's a patently obvious culprit for this ongoing deficiency of climax in the game: goalies.
The whole point of the game is that you can't use your hands. Except for one guy. And he gets to park himself right in front of the goal and block anything that comes his way, with any part of his body that he can possibly manage to get in the way of the ball. This would be kind of like if in basketball, there was a guy who got to stand on an elevated platform perched right in front of the basket. And then he could knock out of the way any shot he could, any way that he wanted to, thereby preventing 95% of otherwise successful attempts from scoring. Wouldn't that take a hell of a lot of fun and excitement out of the game?
But that's the situation with soccer. It's not uncommon to sit through an entire 90-minute game with only one goal being scored. Or even none. And it's those pesky goalie's fault. They're just too damn good. And as a result, they're depriving millions of enthusiastic fans around the world from experiencing the full sports satisfaction they deserve. And not only that, but the game is far less representative of who actually played the best, when the scoring is so low. You could have the ball in the other teams defensive zone for 90% of the game. But if they get a lucky goal, then boom, they win. Doesn't matter if your team had 10 times as many shots on goal.
So just a little proposal: it's time to get rid of goalies. I know, I know, it's fun to watch them block those soaring balls with their incredible flying leaps and all. But understand that this will be replaced with much greater enjoyment tenfold by so many more thrilling goals being scored. I know change can be hard to accept. But believe me, the world will be better for it. If anyone out there has an ear with the folks over at FIFA, feel free to send them this message. I'm certain that when they realize this change will result in greater fan enthusiasm and skyrocketing ticket sales, they'll be more than happy to make this slight adjustment lickety-split.