To Lace, or not to Lace . . .

By | October 15, 2022

When I awoke this morning I was thinking; what could possibly have been going through the rules committee’s heads when they created all the various scenarios regarding the pre-kindergarten skill of tying one’s shoes?

As it is now, or was recently, if a competitor’s laces become untied, heaven forbid, the match is stopped, the offending athlete is hit for stalling, the injury clock starts, and the athlete’s opponent gets the choice of position when the match resumes.

Wow, can anyone say overkill? Can we make somethings that’s easy to handle any more complex?

Granted, there have been various solutions to this massively egregious occurrence, but really, why should anyone care?

I could be wrong, I was once. But as most of us have the ability to do, and wrestling’s leadership prefers to do; they’ll debate anything that some coach bitches about, until they believe they’ve gotten it right, or exhaustion sets in.

Seldom, it appears anyway, do they ask the question; should we be discussing whatever it is in the first place?

Enter my two cents regarding the abomination of one’s shoe laces becoming untied, and, God forbid, what should we do if a shoe comes off?

I always begin any process that has to do with the rules by asking myself two questions. First, who cares, and if someone does, why do they? And two, or is it three now, is there a simple solution that would eliminate the need for the rules committee, or the referee to become involved?

To the first one; so what if a shoe lace comes untied? Whose fault is that? Answer, it’s the athlete whose foot owns the shoe. It has nothing to do with his opponent so why is there a break in the action, which could offer the offending wrestler some actual benefit, like a coaching timeout, or a conditioning recovery period, or, has anyone ever thought about how an interruption in the flow of the match effects his opponent?

Should we think about this, as an example, for those who prefer logic? If any wrestler has failed ‘Laces 101’ in kindergarten, that’s his problem. Solution; keep the match going. The penalty already exists; the offending athlete might step on his own lace and fall over. That’s on him. Once everyone knows that the match will continue, every athlete will learn very quickly how to triple tie his laces, and apply a coating of epoxy. It’s called fear of consequence.

Problem solved; wow, and without the Rules Committee having to get involved.

Why do we always have to fix problems that are created by the athlete, or his coach, who, more times than not, is doing it for the purpose of getting an edge?

And if a shoe comes off, so what? Now the wrestler gets to wrestle lopsided. And no, he doesn’t get to put the shoe back on during a break in the action. Problem solved.

If anything, it adds another level of excitement for the spectator. And, if the athlete doesn’t like drop stepping off of a sock that doesn’t provide a bunch of traction, he’ll learn to lace his shoes tighter the next time and as previously written, triple knot the bow and add epoxy. We don’t need to fix every perceived problem. Sometimes nature, and the will to win is a wonderful teacher.

The onus should be on the athlete, not the rules committee.

Relating this to football, if a running back losses his shoe in the middle of a long run, do the referee’s stop the action and take a time-out away from his team? No.

If a running back’s helmet comes off in a collision that doesn’t down him, is he allowed to continue his quest to score? Of course he is, and had that been wrestling, our rules committee would have had a kitten about the safety issue of being helmetless. That’s due to their belief that wrestlers aren’t capable of dressing themselves.

In basketball, soccer, track, baseball et al; how about a similar scenario? No, the action isn’t stopped. And no, there’s no penalties involved.

Question; isn’t all sports all about learning how to overcome challenges while teaching responsibility? If that’s true; shouldn’t we apply it here as well?

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