“The referee’s discretion.” Psh.
Those words liberate officials to make any call deemed appropriate. It means the difference between an unblown whistle and a red card. A few times in my coaching career, I had it up to here with referee’s discretion and could have suggested a place to stash it.
Once, in a tournament in Columbia, (South Carolina, not South America), Grace and other had been tossed around like burrito wrappers in my backseat with the windows down.
I slammed my cap to the grass and stomped out to get my bruised up and tearful daughter. I trudged past the oblivious man with the near-new whistle around his neck and fresh-from-the-factory yellow card in his pocket.
“You’ve got no control of this game,” I grumbled to him, close enough to make Joe Biden squirm. “Blow the whistle!”
He didn’t acknowledge me then, nor when I asked for explanations of other calls and non-calls, so I appealed to his vain side. “Sir!” I said. “I think you’re handsome. Extremely handsome.” Nothing. Not even a warning.
I felt … invisible.
And he wasn’t even all that good looking.
1. Can you kick the ball out when the keeper punts it?
Referee conduct is often in ridiculous contrast to the neat and orderly laws of the game.
The laws of the game say no opposing player may impede a keeper from putting the ball back into play. Soccer also has laws against ‘unsporting behavior.’ If an attacker waits just outside the 18-yard box with the intent of blocking a punt, that’s considered unsporting behavior.
It should result in a free kick for the keeper’s team and a warning for the attacking player, and possibly a yellow card.
At the referee’s discretion, of course.
2. Why do people take drugs?
Drugs are meant to change something for a person.
This is open to interpretation much broader than referee’s discretion. I take drugs that help regulate my glucose levels, for instance. Others are taken to treat disease or ease pain.
Drugs can also change other things for people, such as provide an escape from the world. People take them for reasons they think are right, but ultimately are wrong. Pain killers used without a prescription are an example.
So too are pain killers taken with a prescription, although who knows it at the time? There’s always a risk. My doctor tells me my pills are temporary – they’re meant to get me from here to a better place in many different ways.
It’s what I do outside of the pills that will determine how quickly.
My hope is that the pills you take in a lifetime are minimal, and the reasons you need to take them just as small.
3. Are dandelions con artists?
Dandelions are just … persuasive. But I’d stop short of con artist status.
True, dandelions present a tempting choice for kids: A stem full of tiny parachutes, deployed with a single blow. For the kid, it’s a good 11 seconds of non-Disney entertainment; for the grownup, it’s 17 new dandelion sprouts where the seeds land. Then they grow up to make tiny parachutes of their own.
It’s like those carts of blow-up toys and cheap horns a guy pushes around at a parade. It’s total crap; but, people buy it, so he makes enough to buy more total crap. It’s the circle of life.
4. Does the GPS really talk to you like that?
You mean, like this?
No, not my Shelley.
She never even says “recalculating.” She just, does. When I miss a turn, she doesn’t miss a beat. “When possible, make a u-turn,” she says. I’ve said it before – I think she finds my missteps endearing. And sometimes, her satellites get all discombobulated, and she’ll take me to a Hungry Howie’s that looks like a residential neighborhood.
It’s all good, though.
No mayhem. Just harmony.
5. Isn’t the billboard that says “1 in 5 kids in the U.S. is hungry” wrong?
I said yes. Ginger, the online grammar queen, said no.
This, after I took to the phones all old-school. I found a directory of grammar hotlines. Yes, hotlines! I called the University of Arkansas Little Rock. I might have freaked out the woman who answered the phone. “I think you might have the wrong number,” she said, all spaced out for effect.
No sister. This is it. Help me with grammar. Please? Instead, she transferred me to the writing center. I imagined room full of floppy-haired English majors stuck on campus for summer semester.
Or, there by choice, to toss about ideas on grammar and solid writing. Either way, I got voicemail. Seems the writing center is closed for the summer. As if grammar ever takes a vacation.
At Consumnes River College in Sacramento (alma mater to former White Sox DH Jermaine Dye, a dude I interviewed back in 1996, his rookie season with the Braves), the writing center won’t open until Aug. 15.
Grammar expert Karen Gentrup’s phone number was out of service. (Maybe busted by the grammar police?) I even tried The U (in Miami). Voicemail.
I figured the football team might be on campus this summer sharpening their writing skills.
I asked Julia Tomiak, fellow youth soccer coach and author of Diary of a Word Nerd. This is what she said:
Actually, I think it’s correct, because the subject of the sentence is singular: kid, specifically one kid, and the “out of five kids” is a distracting prepositional phrase. One kid out of five kids faces hunger- one kid faces hunger.
To help, I consulted this post on Grammar Girl.
So, Ginger has it. So does Julia. It’s correct. I thought you’d drop the “in 5” and try to see if “one kid(s) faces hunger” works, which it does not. Ginger doesn’t give rules or reasons for its correctness.
That’s Ginger’s discretion, I guess.
I don’t hate that as much.