The Art of the Flop

It is once again time for the NBA playoffs, and I am glued to the television set.  Having my own hometown Denver Nuggets in the mix just adds to the excitement.  Why yes, we do happen to have a professional basketball franchise in the Mile High City!  For the past few years they have made regular appearances in the postseason too!

Over the course of the past season, I have been observing a troubling trend emerging on the hardwood floor.  When I was growing up, players like Abdul Jabbar and Lambeer dragged each other up and down the court.  They were not afraid to mix it up under the rim either!  Elbows would fly, knees would be driven into thighs, and shoulders crashed against one another as these giants jockeyed for rebound position.

The referees would sit back and let them play the game.  Every now and then, somebody would end up facedown on the court and a foul would be called!  It was typically the result of two bodies in motion colliding against each other.  The felled player would be assisted off the floor by several of his team mates.  He would painfully wobble over to the free throw line, try to focus on the rim in front of him, and drop a couple of free throws. 

This past season I became painfully aware of a new wrinkle in professional basketball.  They simply call it the “flop.”  Rather than fight it out on the court, waiting to be physically mugged before drawing a foul; players are now throwing themselves on the floor.  They wait for an opposing hoopster to simply graze them in passing and they then flail themselves backwards, crashing onto the hardwood!  The referee, not truly having witnessed the “contact” assumes that the player on the floor was viciously fouled!

The flop has now evolved into an art form.  I am certain that stuntmen in Hollywood are tuning into NBA games in order to get tips on how to be better at their falls.  Sports networks are now including nightly highlights of the best flops from around the league.  Commentators will replay the same sequence over and over again to show you that no actual contact was made as one of the players flung himself into the crowd!  Then they will chuckle over the fact that the referee had the audacity to blow the whistle!

Yes, I too find it entertaining to watch these Oscar hopefuls dramatize the wrongdoings of their counterparts.  However, I can not help but be bothered by the intent.  Back in the day, a foul was called because a player actually violated the rules.  By flopping, a player is simply trying to get his opponent penalized under false pretenses.  A player is supposedly hit so hard that he lies on the floor crying out for the paramedics.  The foul is called and miraculously he bounds to his feet, a cheap smirk on his face, and trots to the foul line!  It just cheapens the game, and to my way of thinking is one step short of cheating! 

Let’s introduce an additional referee who is charged with reviewing the film every time a player hits the floor.  If that player is judged to have flopped, then a technical foul should be charged against him!  Get caught flopping three times in a game and you get ejected!  That should bring an end to this disgraceful practice!

Think about your own life for a moment.  How often do each of us over-dramatize the wrongs levied upon us?  Do we throw ourselves onto the floor when somebody simply grazes us?  It is very tempting to proclaim ourselves victims when we perceive we have been slighted or fouled.  Too often we are looking for somebody else to blame when we come up short!  We are tempted to get cheap fouls called on somebody else, just so we can better our own position.

Perhaps it is time for us to set up our own individual replay systems.  We can then study the action and determine if we were truly fouled or not.  In playground basketball games, players are responsible for calling fouls on themselves.  From what I have observed, it works fairly well.  Remember, there is no replay referee in life.  Are you willing to forego the flop and call a foul on yourself when it is the right thing to do?

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About Jerry V. Dollar, Author, Humorist, Observer of the Human Condition

When not trekking around the globe, Jerry Dollar can be found in Colorado Springs, CO where he lives with his wife Robbi. Besides an affinity for writing and travel; he is also an avid bodybuilder, a very prolific reader, and an enthusiastic observer of the human condition. Jerry has published two books which are available on: Lulu, Amazon, Kindle, Nook, and IBook. "Announcing a Flight Delay" is a hilarious recap of the author's experiences as a million mile flyer. "A Dollar's Worth" is a collection of observations on the human condition, which originally appeared as blog posts. Dr. Dollar has served in various senior executive management capacities over the past 25 years. He has previously worked within the healthcare, insurance, software, and several other high technology industries. Jerry is recognized for his expertise in creating the foundations for emerging organizations to succeed in complex sales environments. He is also well known for his leadership in guiding technology companies through rapid growth phases. Jerry speaks five languages and has conducted business in over 70 countries on six continents. He holds particular expertise in the Latin American and Western European geographic areas. Dr. Dollar holds a BA in International Affairs, a BA in Spanish, an MBA in Marketing, and a PhD in Organizational Development. He has authored numerous professional articles, various training courses, and has conducted seminars and conferences around the world.
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2 Responses to The Art of the Flop

  1. Jack Durish says:

    The NBA players are amateurs compared to the World Cup football (soccer) players who have elevated the “flop” to an art form.

    Occasionally, I fear that I am guilty of “flopping” when I consider the abuse I received from my father, a subject that I touched on in the prologue of my first novel. Luckily, my wife met my father and is well aware of his capacity for abuse, and she is there to reassure me that my recollections are accurate.

    This experience has taught me that the human mind is very adept at forgetting the bad as a defense mechanism. In much the same manner, soldiers forget the worst parts of the horror of war while remembering the comradry of their unit and the fact that they were young and vital in those days. Otherwise, how could they send their sons to war?

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