Like a lot of people around the globe, I enjoy watching sports, whatever sport it is, and whether it’s on TV or in person. I love to see fellow athletes leave it all on the field, exchange banter, and celebrate. I even enjoy watching teams when they’ve lost a close game or match because it’s real and true emotion. I know where they’re coming from. There’s one aspect of professional sports that’s overlooked, except in racquetball, and that’s going by what the ref calls, even if it isn’t the right call.
Let me setup a scenario: It’s 8-8 in the 5th, tie-breaking game during the semis of an International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Tier 1 tournament. Your opponent serves. After a few hits, he pulls off a great shot. You dive. Your racquet slides right under the ball just after the second bounce so tightly that the ref doesn’t see the skip. You pop back up onto your feet and continue, eventually hitting the winner for the rally. Your opponent glares at the ref, holds up two fingers, and pleads his case for why he should’ve taken the point.
What do you do? Does your conscience take over impelling you to give your opponent the point? Or, do you walk into the service box to prepare for the serve? Before you answer, let’s dig a little deeper.
Most people would automatically say, “I would give the point to my opponent. I am an honest player.” That same person would also insist that pros should do the same. But is that the same person who also smiles as he watches an NFL receiver hold the ball up and put on his best Oscars-worthy performance, knowing he dropped the ball, a baseball player who knows he was tagged out at home, or a soccer player who takes a dive trying to draw a foul when he gets a small bump from his opponent?
Why is it okay for them, but not for racquetball players?
So, this is the debate I want to start. If you’re able, take yourself out of the equation as an amateur and insert yourself as someone who plays racquetball to pay the mortgage, bills, and to put food on the table for your family. Also consider that all of your opponents would take the call without hesitation. Understand that “cheating” (for lack of a better word) is part of all professional sports, and also that it’s accepted by all of them, and not debated in any, except ours.
What do you do?