Category Archives: Rugby

Adrian the Canadian presents his girlfriend’s Unified Theory of Sports

Since I’m on vacation, I’m giving Adrian a little more rope than usual. Here’s his girlfriend’s Unified Theory of Sports:

My girlfriend has a theory about sports. She thinks that all sports that have a physical goal, be it a net or an end zone, require some sort of physical handicap in order to be interesting. These handicaps can be divided along two dimensions — one we’ll call rules-based and the other opposition-based. Rules-based handicaps are things like “no hands” or “no running with the ball/Frisbee” or “the net is two basketballs wide,” while opposition-based handicaps refer to what your opponent is allowed to do to prevent you from reaching your goal. These two types of handicaps move in inverse relation to one another. A sport with many rules-based handicaps — think about basketball with its small net and prohibition against running with the ball or soccer with its single, significant “no hands” rule — has to minimize physicality. Imagine full contact soccer. It would be stultifying. Similarly, imagine Continue reading

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An idea for the MLS

I play for the Boston Rugby Football Club (BRFC) in the ten-team U.S. Super League (our country’s highest level of rugby, but there’s not even a website worth linking for the league). We’re in the midst of preseason conditioning in a high school gym, and I’ll pay for all my own flights to our away matches. We’ve had a different “home field” in Boston for each of the last five seasons, yet we’ve reached the league semifinals two years running.

Meanwhile, in Foxborough, MA, the New England Revolution share Gillette Stadium with the Patriots, but only draw a few thousand fans to most games. Major League Soccer is entering its 17th season. Most teams are not profitable (though the league is making progress). The MLS lags far behind the big four U.S. professional sports in gate receipts, total revenue, and media coverage.

Somewhere between these two poles, lacrosse, women’s soccer, women’s basketball, and other sports struggle for attention. All these leagues are working towards similar goals but need Continue reading

Defenseless receivers

All season, I’ve been semi-confused by commentators’ responses to personal foul flags for hits on defenseless receivers. The Monday Night Football crew is a good example: Jon Gruden epitomizes the old school idiot camp that never read the new rules and doesn’t care about safety (“That’s just a great football play, these players are taught to drive through the receiver”), but Mike Tirico is actually more confusing (“With the new rules this year, you cannot hit a defenseless receiver”).

If you cannot hit a defenseless receiver, how can you ever defend a pass play other than knocking the ball away with you hands? Continue reading