When we see diving in the professional game the reaction is now one of grudging acceptance. We’ve been worn down by its prevalence and become somewhat immune to the nauseating reality of the act. Our indignation has been vanquished by it eventually being the team we support that benefits from one of its players taking a tumble.
But it’s a bit like getting burgled. It’s a fact of life until it actually happens to you! Last night in an MSSL game played out in East Boston (fortunately a comfortable victory for our team) I made a sliding tackle in the box, winning the ball cleanly. After a short delay, the subject of that rather well-timed challenge then squeeled like a stuck pig and launched himself forward in a Superman impersonation.
I was in the process of laughing at the farce of such ham acting when, in disbelief, I discovered that the referee had fallen for the ruse and pointed to the spot. We won comfortably but it really left a sour taste in my mouth to think of the audacity and mean spiritedness of such flagrant cheating. It’s monumentally galling. The practise really does attack all that’s good and of value about sporting contest. People say it’s part of the game, but really it’s the antithesis of what soccer should be about.
So, in summary. It reaffirms my disgust at the habit of diving or cheating in general and I’m back being evangelical about the need for it to be stamped out of the game. The booking for diving system is good but quite often people get booked when they were actually fouled or when they simply slipped or fell over. It’s hard for referees to tell in that split second. Maybe at the upper echelons of the game there should be more video review of dives and harsher punitive action when it is clear… less of this “if the referees seen the incident he can deal with it” because this means too much diving is slipping through the cracks.