11 June 2008

Slipping on flop sweat

You may have heard that the NBA plans to fine players found guilty of "flopping". For those not in the know, this is what they call it when another player goes near you and you theatrically fling yourself to the floor to make it look like the other player just steamrolled your innocent self. The parents in the audience can see where I'm going with this-- stick with me.

The maneuver, when done strategically by an expert, is surprisingly effective at creating foul calls in his team's favor, but there are plenty of players for whom repeated failure at getting those calls is taken as a sign they need to try so often that the referees will be guilted into giving them calls at least some of the time. So this potential rule change is certainly a welcome one for fans as well as star players who find this to be many opponents' only defensive strategy.

This method is definitely not limited to the basketball court, though, so I believe the punishment shouldn't be, either. I reserve the right to fine small children at the playground for exaggerated victimhood, and lest their parents think I am merely trying to line my pockets (with pennies) at the expense of the local ice cream truck drivers' union, I am more than willing to allow those parents to fine my children for the same offense as needed.

I think the highest volume of revenue, however, would come from a very closed loop between D- and us, as he paid out huge fines while going through the learning process and we found reasons to pay him for things so he'd have enough money to pay us back. That's not to say that M- isn't coming into her own under D-'s unwitting tutelage, but her reactions, though frequently exaggerated, are usually pretty well-grounded in genuine assaults. I throw her a bone here and there while trying to discourage the drama.

D-, on the other hand, has been known to fall backwards with a look of betrayal and a declaration of "Owwww!" when someone does so much as give him a stern look. His reactions are so over the top and accusatory, that especially as a parent, being quite vulnerable to such impressions on the wrong eyes and later fantastical retellings to the wrong ears, it makes you want to give him something to "Ow!" about as long as you're already on the hook for the crime. Especially when he accompanies this with a "Don't push me!" Rarely do I feel more like a 1950s parent.

I can only imagine M-'s confusion and disgust when she's on the receiving end of these performances, but I can already tell that she's begun to study the technique, and knowing her, she'll come back as a virtuoso in just a year or two. Right now, she's limiting her experimentation, when she's in the mood to do so, to a still-cute "Ow?" when you touch her arm or tickle her or disturb the air molecules around her.

Maybe I should branch out across sports and start using a yellow car/red card system for these pre-literate kids, and I can build a penalty box to contain them when necessary. Since that sounds like a lot of work, though, I think for the time being whenever I'm appealed to for a "fair call" on a nonexistent offense, I'll just blow J-'s classroom whistle, make a T with my hands, and then throw the kid out of the game if I get an argument.


Kori said...

I think I might steal the idea of the penalty box. Complete with, you know, duct tape to stave off the inevitable arguing. Should I be WORRIED that my two year old is aleady doing the "ow?" thing, too? This same kid can fall out of a window and be basically fine, but the 9 year old wants a bedtime kiss and the two year old acts like he cut off his arm.

SherE1 said...

There is a lot of "she said, she said" in my household. She said: She hit me! She said: No, I didn't! She said: "She did! Here on my arm!" She said: "All I did was tell her not to touch that!" Who to believe. Penalty box sounds like a great idea.

TentCamper said...

I LOVE it Dan! Floppig is a continual occurance in our house...mostly by Insane Mama, but I think that there should be some sort of fine for kids. Otherwise...maybe a summer school class on perfecting it. I am tired of the lame atempts. If it is really good...at least it is fun to watch

Natalie said...

we have to deal with that to two extremes. one daughter does touch, push, hit the other one, but claims i was just patting her on the head, or i was just trying to pass behind her. the other daughter exaggerates any sort of touch when she is already upset. i think locking them both in a penalty box might be just the thing.

Anonymous said...

My girls a natural...didn't have to learn it, it came with her package deal! lol!

Danielle said...

Oooh, fining my kids for flopping?

I like.

I like it very much....

(My husband will be very impressed with my knowledge of NBA terminolgy now, too. I'm gonna bring it up all casual like, as if I've known about this forever.)


Kevin McKeever said...

Flopping was the only thing I had any talent for in high school basketball.

Anonymous said...

I love the parallel you've drawn here, Dan; pure genius :) I've seen this time and time again between siblings. Come to think of it; I've been that sibling!

LiteralDan said...

Kori: Oooh, duct tape-- nice touch! I like it. Here's a free parenting tip-- cut off the kid's arm, so he'll learn to appreciate perspective. It'll grow back, right?

SherE1: Daddy says, "Everyone shut up!"

TentCamper: I totally agree-- I've just about said as much to my son, though I don't really want to encourage him. You gotta make me BELIEVE it, you gotta bring your A game.

Natalie: Yeah, let them work it out with each other to a nice, consistent medium. At least it'll give you some time to catch up on your reading and stuff.

Shelle: For every skill, there are always those who are naturally gifted.

Danielle: Hey if that works, I can feed you some more good lines to freak him out. He'll think you're watching sports behind his back, and feel kind of proud but also hurt and confused. lol

Always Home and Uncool: Everyone's gotta have a specialty-- you were a niche player. You could just be the 12th man they send in in an emergency. It worked for Vlade Divacs until his knees couldn't hold him up anymore. And he's flopping all the way to the bank!

Half-Past Kissin' Time: Merci, mademoiselle. I won't admit to ever being that sibling.

Candid Carrie said...

I believe I have mastered the art of being a mother flopper.

LiteralDan said...

I've been called a mother flipper, but only in an '80s movie on basic cable.