I know what you're thinking: "Oh God, not this crap again. I come to Addicted to Quack for new perspectives, not this tired-out, hack journalism." And I bet you're shocked it's me writing this article, considering my usual propensity for hard-hitting, bold and relevant, and eye-opening subject matter. But here it is, my submission to the 2011 Oregon-Cal Writing Jubilee, where the only rule is you have to write about the faking of injuries and the booing of said faked injuries. Winner gets $500 in cash and a new 21-speed bicycle!
The 2010 battle between Oregon and Cal was both a defensive masterpiece and a study in offensive inconsistency. A combined 28 points and only two offensive touchdowns were due to a swarming Cal defense which bottled up Oregon's zone read attack, and the Ducks' equally suffocating D held Cal's offense to only 3.2 yards per offensive play. Cliff Harris had an electrifying punt return TD, and the Ducks finished off the win with a grind-it-out, 18 play drive that ticked the final 9:25 seconds off the clock. But what the casual fan remembers from the game is the controversy surrounding Cal's faking injuries to slow down Oregon's offense, and the Oregon fan reaction to boo Cal's injuries, real or fake.
Oregon's fans took heat for their "guilty-until-proven-innocent" attitude last season, and it is an unfair course of action. It is okay to be frustrated at an opponent's brazen misuse of the rules? Sure. But assuming any player who goes down is faking it does nothing to motivate our team and affect the play of the game, and is just an all-around dick move. Here's what I propose instead:
An Opposing Player is Injured!
Step 1: Shut the hell up. Is it a fake? Is it real? Unless you were watching that player for the entire play, you can't 100% know. So just shut up, and pay close attention.
Step 2: Note the player. If medical staff enters the field to assist the injured player, that player has to sit out the next play. Remember the number of the man on the ground. He's the one you'll want to boo he turns out to be a lying sack of crap.
Step 3: Keep an eye on him on the sidelines. By all means, watch the game. But take a look at where that "injured" player goes, and what he does. Is he on a table, getting worked on by training staff? Is he on a stationary bike, trying to loosen up? Or is his on the sideline, waiting to get back into the action?
Step 4: Count to three. Three plays. That's all you get. If he comes back on the field after three or less plays, and looks no worse for wear, then by all means, boo to your heart's content. Boo until your nose bleeds and you start to smell colors. But, if it's been more than three plays, it means one of three things:
- He's actually hurt.
- They're trying to really milk the lie, and we should let them keep their players off the field for as long as they want. Sure, weaken your team on the field because you don't want to look like a chickenshit. We'll just be over there in that big rectangle that says "OREGON".
- It's a backup, and if they're sending backups in just to fake injuries and leave, then they have no faith in their starting defense to stop us. So by all means, keep playing inferior players. We'll be over there in that big rectangle that says "OREGON".