The Running Man is one step closer to becoming a reality with the announcement that big changes are in store for netball and basketball – dangerous and exciting changes. I’m a big fan of future sports, so this kind of nonsense gets me fired up, or as Grader would say, it “sends a shiver down my leg”.
First off, Netball. An announcement was made yesterday that a new 6-team competition (called the World Series) is being scheduled for October 2009 in Manchester. The matches will be played in six-minute quarters, with coaches allowed to nominate one quarter in which their team’s goals will be worth 2 points!! Three point shots are also being talked about as an option, but this has not yet been confirmed. Think about it though, 3 pointers in netball… Maria Tutaia would be devastating from beyond the arc. Tied games will be decided in a penalty shoot-out scenario.
The shortened game length, “power play” quarters, shoot-outs, and (potential) 3 pointers are all great ideas and necessary moves to ensure that netball remains a relevant international sport. It’s always been a great game to play, but almost unbearably monotonous from a spectator’s point of view. The lack of variability in the game-play means that a last-quarter comeback (of any significance) is almost never a possibility. Sure, there are plenty of close matches, but a decent lead is rarely overhauled. These rule changes at least allow for the possibility of unpredictability in the closing stages of matches, and for heroic personalities to emerge from within teams. Exciting.
Even more exciting is the clip below. Don’t ask me how this came into my possession, but let me just say I know some powerful people inside David Stern’s office. People that could make like very uncomfortable for the Kobe’s and LBJ’s of this world. This hidden camera footage illustrates the NBA’s desire (desperation) to evolve the sport of basketball into something that is at least remotely watchable – and we all know that Stern has been wanting to tap into the Asian market…