While Andres Iniesta’s lone-goal last Sunday, securing Spain as World Cup campions, was a huge accomplishment, many impartial fans (and the Dutch, too) couldn’t help but get frustrated with his ‘diving.’
Diving (or ‘simulation’ as it’s called by the FIFA) is when a player is overdramatic about a play, so that it looks as if they’re injured or hurt by a foul by the other team. There is actually some strategy to diving; It can stop the game, halting the opponent’s momentum, and it can even change up who has ball advantage if the ref believes the dive.
While diving is a source of outrage for some fans, it’s also a source of jokes and entertainment for others. The CBC created a humorous instruction guide on how to dive during the World Cup. And there’s even a parody YouTube video about these tactics.
But in my own defense of diving, there have been times when I’ve sprung into the air with my arms flailing and rolled on the ground from even a slight hit. Granted, my recreation league level isn’t competitive enough to warrant this as a competitive strategy. But you’ll still see diving lots on the field, as not everyone knows how to fall properly.
I’ve heard people compare soccer to football or hockey and how the players don’t dive. ‘They’re real men playing a real sport.’ Whatever. Running at top speed after a ball and running into another player freakin’ hurts and can often knock the wind out of you, even if no one gets injured. There are no shoulder pads or helmets in soccer. The only pads and protective equipment required are shin guards. (Though I’ll admit, I am dealing with less body weight’from myself and the person I collide with, at least 200 pounds less’than what pro hockey and football players deal with.)
I can recall one game, when I ran on the field to sub a teammate as left-mid’no one was near me, not a ball in sight’and my right hamstring seized up. I thought I could run it off. As the game progressed, the angrier my hamstring got. The forwards were about to score and I dropped yards away. I dove, I fell to the ground in agony. It could have been a poor pre-game warm-up or that I didn’t eat properly that day. Whatever the reason, it happened.
I can’t be the only one who dives without diving. Have you ever injured yourself during sports or while exercising for no apparent reason?