Sunday, December 28, 2008

How long would the soccer-ball-in-afro trick work?

As I detailed in My Contribution to Humanity, the soccer world is due for a shake down. One day, a tall player will grow a huge afro, cut a round hole in the middle of it, juggle the ball into the hole, and run across the field unopposed. This will happen eventually, all we can hope is that a US player does it first.

How long will it take before the quasi-nefarious tactic is banned? Before recently there was little historical precedent to use for predictions.

But earlier this year hockey player Sean Avery distracted the goalkeeper face-on, a hitherto unused tactic that technically speaking broke no rules.

The hockey referees did not call any infraction, and it is hard to see what exactly they could have called, although onlookers agreed that it was highly unsportsmanlike. However, the very next day the NHL created a rule colloquially known as the Sean Avery Rule banning face-on distraction of the goalie.

So the historical precedent is that the trick would work for one game and then the world soccer community would ban it. Now, soccer is more of an international game, and there is a lot of bureaucracy involved in any international affair. Just look at the UN. So it is possible that the tactic could be useful into the second or third games, but beyond that I don't see much hope.

Bottom line: Aspiring soccer players should continue to work hard on their overall game, but they should also devote some effort to growing really long hair that can be sculpted with enough gel into an afro. The Sean Avery incident indicates that this tactic would work for between one and three games, meaning that there is an almost infinite first mover advantage.