So Close and Yet So Far

 1. Wait, so “The Rock” wasn’t his real name?

For months now, we here at OnFire have cried over The Rock’s decision to call himself by some god-awful nickname “Dwayne Johnson.” Apparently that nickname works well for movies like “Race to Witch Mountain,” which could clealry not support a dude named “The Rock.” The reason this is relevant is we have at OnFire have supported the WWE like wealthy indie kids support thrift stores. It’s real and we have taken enough criticism in the past for defending the legitimacy of the sport. Clearly, these guys are athletes engaging in the purest form of athletic endeavor that one can. Why cynics deny this is beyond us.

Each and every day these wrestlers combine high-flying athletic stunts with chair-bashing and unbelievable entertainment. So they say things like, “I’ll lay the smack down on your roody poo candy ass” or their signature stars perform “the pedigree.” It doesn’t distract from the real, raw emotional hate these wrestlers have for each other and are able to only show for two hours each week without ever seeming to have worked anything out on the side. It’s cool, we understand. And so does The Daily Telegraph, an Australian newspaper that sent a photo journalist to cover the Ric Flair-Hulk Hogan press conference in anticipation for their next brawl.

After a fight broke out at the event, the newspaper wrote, “Wrestler Hulk Hogan has been badly injured after a violent bloody brawl broke out at The Hulkamania promotional press conference at Star City today … [t]he press conference veered violently out of control today as Hogan and ring rival Ric Flair let their animosity break into a full-scale bloody brawl … Media were stunned as Hogan’s head began bleeding profusely and confusion broke out when the veteran wrestling star was unable to get to his feet.” Seriously, and we thought only FOX News spouted falsehoods and called them legit. We were wrong.

The only thing more crazy about this is the fact that Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan can still draw an audience. They are a combined 250 years old and haven’t had definitive muscle tone since before Australia was recognized as a country. Or continent. Whatever, who knows that anyway? 2. 60 percent of the time, it works every time Researchers from Indian University and Ball State University have done some research on college basketball referees. They concluded that essentially they suck. Their study focused in the certain facts such as if their is a great discrepency in foul calls, it is very likely that the next foul will be called in the team with fewer fouls against them. Now, it makes sense that Indiana would perform this study. Ever since Bobby Knight aka the greatest coach ever was fired from IU, the team has been gasping for air. Yes, we know about the Mike “Knight” Davis final game, but that hardly counts. They will do anything to prove it isn’t IU itself that sucks, but the officials. Althoug that logic could apply to the banking crisis — the regulators slept at the wheel while thousands of people stole billions of dollars — it doesn’t work here. In fact, in the age of Gladwell, 85 percent of time time, you can prove 30 percent of your hunches. Could we stop with such mindless research and focus on things that are important. Or at least actually improving your basketball team.

2. The Invisible Hand

For all of the heat that NBA, MLB, and NFL officials take, rarely do they ever make mistakes as egregious as the one made in Wednesday’s World Cup qualifying match between France and Ireland. Tied at 1-1 in extra time, France went on the attack with a late scoring opportunity that was clearly offside, but not spotted by the linesman.  Then just seconds later, star French striker Thierry Henry knocked the ball out of the air with his hand before crossing to a teammate who scored the game winning goal.  As result, Ireland was robbed of a trip to South Africa in 2010.  Americans have long mocked soccer in part because of its tolerance of dives and the frequent occurrence of referee bribery.  The sports’ trend of poor officiating incidents such as this one is just one of many reasons why soccer continues to be a laughingstock in the U.S.

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