An oft-forwarded Slate piece written this week attempts to answer the question: What's wrong with diving in soccer? The mock, oh-lord-god-help-me-it-HURTS! soccer move that so infuriates Americans — most memorably demonstrated in a Dave Eggers essay — is probably the biggest roadblock to the sport catching on in this country, but writer Austin Kelley attempts to defend the practice.
Far from being a sign of corruption, diving is, in certain ways, a civilizing influence. Divers are usually quicker, smaller players. As athletes get bigger and stronger, the little guy gets nudged aside. If professional fouls and brute force reign supreme, creative play and joyful improvisation will suffer. ... Doesn't the dribbler deserve a somersault or two to remind the world that the only way to stop him is through violent and graceless means?
We have to say, we have greatly enjoyed this World Cup, much more than we initially anticipated we would. But we'll say that the word "somersault" is not doing soccer defenders any favors.