Not that I care about this, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do a play on the “Black Sox Scandal.”
Beyond that, I really am sort of indignant at the creepiness of people who would deliberately lose in order to eventually win by getting to play weaker opponents. It’s just despicable on a number of levels:
Associated Press9:07 a.m. CDT, August 1, 2012
photo by Arne Nordmann
LONDON — Eight female badminton doubles players were disqualified Wednesday from the London Olympics after trying to lose matches to receive a more favorable place in the tournament.
The Badminton World Federation announced its ruling after investigating two teams from South Korea and one each from China and Indonesia. It punished them for “not using one’s best efforts to win a match” and “conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport” in matches Tuesday night….
IOC Vice President Craig Reedie, the former head of the international badminton federation, welcomed the decision.
“Sport is competitive,” Reedie told the AP. “If you lose the competitive element, then the whole thing becomes a nonsense.
“You cannot allow a player to abuse the tournament like that, and not take firm action. So good on them.”
Good on them, indeed.
It’s not that I care about whether something is detrimental to the “sport” of badminton, which seems perfectly adapted to the way most of us experience it — as a backyard mockery of sport for klutzes staggering about with racket in one hand and a beer in the other. How is this an Olympic sport to begin with? (And don’t even get me started on how I feel about having the Horse Guards Parade become a venue of beach volleyball, of all bogus sports. I imagine former members of the Horse Guards are harrumphing up and down the length of Britain. I certainly would be, were I they. What have they done with the horses while this nonsense is going on? That’s what I want to know…)
But it is indeed a violation of what sport is about.
It reminds me of my longtime nemesis in slow-pitch softball, the opposing player who deliberately tries to draw a walk. I played a lot of slow-pitch softball in my younger days, and I was usually the pitcher, because I was the only one willing to stand there lazily tossing the ball from a mound much closer to the plate than in baseball, at bruisers who were doing their best to send it back rocketing at my head.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been a slow-pitch softball pitcher, but it is next to impossible to keep throwing strikes — much, much harder than if you get to throw straight at the plate. You have to loft it up into the air just so, at a prescribed height well above the batter’s head, and then have the momentum fall away from it at precisely the right point and the right speed so that it drops toward the ground exactly through the strike zone.
The point of slow-pitch softball — as I always wanted to scream at the cretins who stood there with their bats on their shoulders, waiting for the walk — is to allow everyone to hit the ball, and get it into play. It’s not a duel between pitcher and batter. It’s a small step away from putting the ball on a tee. It’s to make the game fun, not to avoid hitting for strategic reasons. And of course, after the first guy stood there and took a walk, I got so angry that I couldn’t throw strikes for anything, and soon I was walking in runs, and had to be relieved. Which is way more humiliating than being taken out in the Major Leagues.
OK, so it’s not exactly the same thing. But it ticks me off the same way…