Ralph Laird: Elections and unrepaired divots | TheUnion.com

Ralph Laird: Elections and unrepaired divots

Other Voices
Ralph Laird

Well, like it or not, the election season is upon us. Seems like it always is nowadays.

I suppose it’s all about what rules are gonna change and for whom.

Anyway, with March Madness, the Masters and spring training around the corner, and Stanley Cup hockey right on their heels, I have some strong opinions on rule changes I think everyone ought to consider.

Hockey is the only sport where I wouldn’t change a rule. Not a one. Basketball? That’s a different story.

No one fouls out in my league. No way. Instead, after five fouls, you go to the penalty box for two minutes, and a four on five hockey-like power play ensues. Also, forget about the “end-of-game-foul-a-dude-free-throw” strategy. If you’re fouled, you can elect to take the ball out of bounds. Get the freakin’ ball moving. I came to watch basketball, not a game of horse from the foul line. Why should fouling ever be encouraged? Oh, and by the way, you see the inequity? You foul me, and I only get a chance at two free throws. Even if I make both, you get the ball and have a chance at three points? That’s total B.S.

The dumbest rule in all of sports? That’d be the fumbled-ball-into-the-opponent’s-end-zone-touchback rule. My god, just give the ball back to the team that fumbled, and mark it where the ball carrier last had possession. The defense didn’t recover the ball. They didn’t gain possession. But you’re gonna take the ball away from the team that was on the verge of scoring, give it to the team that was about to give up a touchdown and spot them 20 yards on top of all that? You gotta be freakin’ kidding me.

And the point system in football needs to change too. Field goals are still worth three points, but only if the ball is snapped from the opponents’s 20-yard line or closer. Two points for field goals snapped from between the 20 and 35, and one point if the ball is advanced no further than the 35-yard line. What would you rather see: a touchdown or a field goal? Live action play from scrimmage, or the field goal team? And while we’re at it, I say four points for a safety. What’s more fun to watch: a field goal or a safety?

Hockey is the bomb. I wouldn’t mess with any hockey rules. It’s built for speed. Hockey has the best rule in all of sports, and perhaps in all human experience: embellishment. If you’re caught faking a penalty, that’s a penalty. Are you listening, soccer?

Golf? Jeez, you gotta be kidding. I mean, you crush a drive down the middle of the fairway, and it parks in a divot some duff-wipe didn’t fix? C’mon man. “Ground under repair,” I say! That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Actually, I totally disagree with what I just said about the divot. For crying out loud, play it as it lies.

What are we gonna have — some debate over what is, or is not, a divot? Quit your caterwauling and hit the damn ball.

Just don’t leave your divot unrepaired. If you’re caught for that: The guillotine. On the spot.

Ralph Laird lives in Lake of the Pines.


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