ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JOE KLEINSASSER
While I was pondering what flavor snow cone to order at the Igloo the other day, my agent I.M. Slick dropped by for a chat.
Slick: I have a little problem with ties.
Joe: Me too. I never really learned how to tie them.
Slick: You goofball. Not ties you wear, but tie games. I can’t stand the way tie games are settled, especially in World Cup soccer.
Joe: For once, I agree with you. It’s amazing. Teams leave blood, sweat and tears on the field during the course of the game, and then, if the game is tied at the end of a 90-minute regulation and two 15-minute overtime periods, it comes down to who can make the most penalty kicks.
That’s a lousy way to determine a champion. I would prefer the game continue with sudden-death overtime periods until a team scores, but in soccer, that could mean playing into the next day.
Slick: You’re right.
Joe: I am?
Slick: And wrong.
Joe: Come again?
Slick: You’re right that the teams could play nearly ad infinitum until someone scores, but you’re wrong about penalty kicks.
Joe: You’ve got to be kidding. You think a game should be determined by penalty kicks?
Slick: Not exactly. I would determine the winner without playing overtime or resorting to penalty kicks.
Joe: And exactly what would you suggest. Flipping a coin?
Slick: That’s not a bad idea, actually. But that’s not what I had in mind. If it were up to me, I’d say the team that took the most corner kicks wins, because that indicates which team was threatening to score the most.
Joe: In other words, you’d determine a winner without a goal being scored. At least goals are scored with penalty kicks.
Slick: But I wouldn’t stop there. Other sports could benefit from my wisdom.
Joe: You’re so humble.
Slick: I know, but I digress. Wouldn’t it be nice if basketball did something besides play overtime? Instead of playing an extra four or five minutes, we could have a free-throw shooting contest. Each team would have five players shoot a free throw. The team making the most free throws wins.
Better yet, let the cheerleaders shoot the free throws for their respective team, or the coaches, or draw names out of the hat and let fans shoot the free throws. That would make things interesting, don’t you think?
Joe: You can’t be serious.
Slick: Call me crazy, but it keeps a judgment call from determining the outcome of a game.
Joe: And how would you break a tie in football?
Slick: Funny you should ask. The team with the most total yards would be the winner. That makes every possession count. And it makes more sense than playing sudden death. This change also would result in fewer injuries to tired players.
Joe: What about baseball?
Slick: That’s easy. If the score is tied after nine innings, the team with the most hits during the game wins. If the teams had the same number of hits, the team with the most errors loses. And if there’s still a tie, the team with the most home runs wins.
Joe: If you’re so smart, how would you break a tie in golf without having a playoff?
Slick: Let the players who are tied for first pick fans out of the gallery and let them have a putt-off.
Joe: Now you’re making even less sense than usual.
Slick: Perhaps, but it takes the spectator out of the sport.
Joe: Good luck with your ideas. Say, where are you going?
Slick: I’m off to finish my book.
Joe: I didn’t know you were writing one. What is it?
Slick: The 10 most humble people and how I met the other nine.