Soccer and basketball are both non-contact sports. At least they are supposed to be. Fouls are called if excessive physical contact occurs during the normal flow of the game. These “fouls” are judged by referees that are there to keep a close eye on the game and determine where the line is between good defense, and excessive force. They are supposed to call the game fairly and truthfully.
Not all players are gifted super athletes that dominate the competition. I should know because I wasn’t a gifted super-athlete. I played basketball in high school, but no one ever accused me of being a superstar. But, I was a master at a niche skill that often times went unheralded. It was the skill of drawing fouls. I was also really good at fouling others. I fouled out in approximately 75% of the games I played in. I had 5 fouls to give, so why waste them, right?
One of my favorite things to do in basketball was taking charges. It usually consisted of me, a smaller player, positioning myself somewhere directly in the path of a much bigger, heavier player who was driving the ball with a full head of steam. The ensuing collision would usually, due to physics, consist of me flying uncontrollably backwards landing violently on the hardwood, with my arms flying, head whiplashing in a human explosion like manner. Sheer sympathy from the referees would almost certainly result in the call of an offensive foul on the bigger stronger guy. Mission accomplished. It didn’t take much skill, just a lot of courage and determination, and ibuprofen afterward.
It worked for me. But, just like a lot of things in this life, there are alter egos, or villains for each superhero. The opposite of a true “charge” or “offensive foul” is the flop. A flop is where the defender pretends, or acts like he took the charge or offensive foul when, in actuality, no harm, or contact even remotely proportionate to the subsequent physical reaction actually occurred. This is where truth gets imitated and falsely represented.
It happens all the time in soccer as well. Watch any soccer game, and you’ll see at least a dozen guys go down on the ground holding their legs, or head, sprawling around like someone just stabbed them 75 times, or that they just got run over by a train or swallowed a grenade, only to hop up, and run off just like nothing happened 4 seconds later when no foul was called. No one likes a flopper. No one.
A few days ago, I was reading and I realized something. The “flop” had its origins much earlier than I had realized. It came into existence even before John Naismith invented basketball, or whoever invented soccer was kicking some round rock through a fishing net somewhere. It may have started somewhere around 600 B.C., with two guys named Laman and Lemuel.
These guys were commanded by God to leave Jerusalem with their family in order to avoid utter destruction. Somehow, these two guys found a way to complain about it. And they continued to complain about it for the rest of their lives. Not only that, but they lied and claimed they had been robbed of their rightful place in the family hierarchy by their younger brother Nephi. They chose to leave out the fact that is was their own wickedness that had determined who the leader would be. These lies, or flops, weren’t called as offensive fouls. They were cowardly actors, just looking for a freebie from the ref. They also seemingly passed on the “flopping” skill to their children, because over the next 1000 years, this initial lie was repeated over, and over, and over again.
As the years went by, the art of the flop was passed on, and perfected until the true master of the flop was born. We learn about him in 3rd Nephi. His name was Giddianhi. He was the leader of the Gadianton robbers. He wrote a letter to Lachoneus, the governor of the Nephite lands, to demand his immediate surrender in the most epic “flop” of an epistle ever written.
First, he threatened Lachoneus with utter destruction, because of the robbers “hatred towards you because of the many wrongs which ye have done unto them“. This was the bogus foul. He then continued to flop in dramatic flair by adding “I am Giddianhi; and I am the governor of this the secret society of Gadianton; which society and the works thereof I know to be good” He didn’t even stop there. He then rolled around on the ground holding his head and demanded that Lachoneus give up his lands, “that this my people may recover their rights and government, who have dissented away from you because of your wickedness“, and with another final twitch, “I will avenge their wrongs. I am Giddianhi.”
Giddianhi was the master flopper. He had demanded a charge, when the Nephites hadn’t even touched him. They weren’t even in the same game. He didn’t get the call. Not even close. He soon fouled out, permanently, by being captured in battle, and hanged.
Coach Satan encourages this flopping. He’s a liar. He’s dishonest. He teaches it on the first day of practice. He taught it to Laman and Lemuel and to Giddianhi. He preaches the doctrine of victimhood, and false representations. The big problem with that mentality, is that is tends to be perpetuated to everyone else around. The lie is repeated until even the liar believes it.
Satan will take something that is good and worthy, and re-release it, repackaged as something that looks similar, but is exactly the opposite. This is the difference between taking a charge and a flop. It’s always easier to be a victim, not to work hard, and expect the world, But we have to be honest. We can’t allow ourselves to always take the easy way, or flop. We have to be willing to do things the right way, and stand in the way of the speeding opposition, and plant our feet. There will be collisions. But, if we work hard, stand tall, and have courage, we will get the call. Its not easy, and it may hurt, but it is worth it. Because, in the end, truth always wins.
Take the charge, but don’t flop.