A terrible, unfair idea

faceoff: should soccer and field hockey championships be decided by shootouts?

November 06, 2008|By SANDRA MCKEE

No, no, no, no!

Why play the game at all if at the end you are simply going to decide the winner with a shootout? Such a finish has more to do with luck than talent. If you want to decide a winner that way, just start the game with a shootout and be done with it.

OK, I'm sure Katherine Dunn will tell you the shootout is time efficient.

But "being time efficient isn't the most important thing," said Marriotts Ridge girls soccer coach Kevin Flynn, whose team will take its first trip to the state Class 2A semifinals tomorrow. "It's a hard way to lose, and it is not indicative of who is better."

And which is more exciting, watching the Stanley Cup Finals, in which teams play until they drop to decide a winner, or the regular season, in which after a short overtime the winner is decided by penalty shots?

I play USTA League tennis in Howard County, where there are so many teams waiting to play that to be time efficient we've completely eliminated the third set. If the match is tied after the first two sets, we go directly to a tiebreaker to determine the winner.

It's bogus. And it's bogus for high school players striving for a state title.

"It's basically unfair," said River Hill girls soccer coach Brian Song, whose team plays in the state 2A semifinals Saturday. "You play 100 minutes and then you lose on penalty kicks? I don't like them."

Shootouts were restored to state championship games last season, because, gosh, someone should win and the match has to be over in a reasonable amount of time. But this is high school sports. If two teams play a full game and several overtimes and they're still tied, the state should be able to splurge and buy two trophies. Certainly each team would deserve one.

Shootouts should be banished to the pros, where everyone gets paid.

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