To eliminate this possibility? Allow infinite substitutions and reduce the number of players on the field per team from 11 to nine. Skilled offensive wizards will no longer be chopped down by athletically inarticulate mob tacklers or impeded by oafish but in-the-way defenders — and scoring will occur more than once per millennium.

16) Get rid of the shoot out Soccer in its current format has basically thrown up its hands in despair. "Yes," it says, in so many words, "we know that there is no scoring in the game, and that fans will accept a zero-zero tie in the regular season, but in playoffs and championship matches, we need to have a winner emerge." Soccer is kind of like an engaging screenplay idea with no ending. The solution soccer has given us in the meantime is penalty kicks, where teams alternate taking shots on goalkeepers. But this deviates too wildly from the integrity of the game as it is played on the field.

Instead, to settle tie games, each team should lose a player for periods of five minutes. This would mean that teams start off an overtime period with 10 players each, instead of 11 (or, if soccer adopts suggestion number 15 above, eight players each). If no team emerges victorious after five minutes, each team loses another player. If need be, the contest can be settled with a one-on-one competition, but at least this way the final goal will be scored on the field instead of in the penalty box.

17) Turn off the pumps, turn on the green energy Watching auto racing as it exists currently is like being a spectator at a ritual of idiocy in which a group of they-should-know-better mechanical engineers spill Valdez-level volumes of petrol onto a beach.

NASCAR, Formula 1, and the auto-racing community (not to mention their hillbilly fans) are well behind the pace car of innovative thinking here. But imagine if this billion-dollar industry had the pole position in thought leadership, spurring engineers, physicists, and other mechanically inclined persons to really drive our economy. Imagine if the NASCAR set led the way in green energy, championing electric cars, hybrids, and corn- or bio-fueled racers. Then our highways would be jammed not with broken heroes but with the buzzing motors of algae-powered autos.

18) Become mixed-martial arts Boxing, your decades of ridiculous ranking systems and Byzantine routes to championship bouts are through. The tradition of Mailer, Plimpton, and even Remnick waxing machismo over the sweet science is kaput. Boxing has been kayoed. Throw in the towel and get in the cage.

19) Pay your athletes Stop pretending that college athletics are an "amateur" endeavor and start treating them as the minor leagues they are. It's absurd to pretend that, say, top-flight basketball or football players are "student athletes." They're enrolled in school to play, not to study. (The proof is in the annual early exoduses to the NBA and NFL.) Throw in the insult-to-injury facts that (often white) coaches get fat salaries, endorsement deals, and, in certain cases, student cheerleaders, while the (often black) best college players don't get a cut of the revenue from the gate, TV contracts, or even the merchandise sales of the jerseys with their own names on the back.

20) Eliminate
any and all rules When we Americans are on our own couches, watching our own sports among the comfort of our friends and family, we want to be entertained knowing that our athletes are complying with a certain delineated set of bylaws that govern them. But Olympic athletes operate in their own little bubbles — hell, we only check in on them every four years — and thus it's much more difficult to detect any illegal substances (unless, of course, the person in question is an East German swimmer).

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |   next >
Related: Ten years of great sports, Prospect Park, Jocktail Party, More more >
  Topics: Sports , Barack Obama, National League (Baseball), New York Mets,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   HIGH AND LOW CULTURE FROM JAPAN  |  June 02, 2010
    Attention, admirers of quirky kitsch and over-the-top aesthetics: hit PAUSE on that Belle and Sebastian record for a second.
  •   GOING FOR GOLD GLOSSARY  |  February 17, 2010
    The Summer Olympics are fairly easy to comprehend for the average couch tuber: people running, hoisting, swimming in synch — all fairly quotidian activities.
  •   THE PHOENIX CLEANS UP AT NENPA  |  February 10, 2010
    Was 2009 a good year for newspapers?
  •   RAINBOW NATION  |  January 28, 2010
    After a torturous history of being treated like second-class citizens, the black population in this country stunned the world by pulling off the unimaginable: voting a black man in as president.
  •   INTERVIEW: OZZY OSBOURNE  |  January 29, 2010
    Long before he bit the heads off bats and doves, Ozzy Osbourne worked in a cheerless abattoir in the hardscrabble Aston section of Birmingham, England, where for 18 months he held such titles as "cow killer," "tripe hanger," "hoof puller," and "pig stunner."

 See all articles by: LANCE GOULD