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Unfit to be tied

Tully Talk

June 16, 2010|By Jeff Tully

I will always remember the championship game from my final year in Little League.

As a 12-year-old, my Braves team was going up against the arch-rival Giants in a winner-take-all showdown for Major Division supremacy.

Although we took an early 2-0 lead, the Giants came roaring back to tie the score at 2 in the final inning.


Luckily we were able to get the final out, and our side figured we would have a good chance to win the game in extra innings.

However, we never got the chance.

After the coaches, umpires and the league president met in a meeting at home plate, it was determined the game would be called a tie and both the Braves and Giants would share the championship.

My teammates, I and the other team's players stood in disbelief. "There was no way they could let it end in a tie," we thought. "That's un-American."

We all walked off the field dejected, unfulfilled and feeling cheated. Even as youngsters, we realized that nothing good comes out of a tie, and ties have no place in sport.

Some of those same feelings I experienced as a 12-year-old came rushing back this week with the opening rounds of the 2010 World Cup. Too many ties and two few goals left me feeling unfulfilled once again.

I believe that one of the reasons why international soccer will never be anything more than a fringe sport in the United States is because of ties.

As Americans, we love winners. We are used to our sports having a distinct winner and a distinct loser, and when things get muddied up with a tie, we tend to lose interest.

We need a clear-cut winner. Whether it is a presidential election, a Pillsbury Bake-Off or the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, we want someone — or something — to win.

And don't give me the retort that I just don't understand soccer and don't realize the significance of a draw. I have been covering soccer for years and understand the game better than most. Ties just diminish the sport.

If it wanted, international soccer can do something about the draw problem, just like the NHL did.

The NHL and many fans had had it with the ties that were plaguing the sport. After the lockout of 2004, the organization instituted new rules. One of those rules abolished ties. After a tie in regulation, the rule called for five minutes of four-on-four overtime to break a tie. If the score remained tied, a shootout would determine the winner.

The rule brought the sport into the 21st century and provided more excitement for the fans.

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