Thank you for your explanation of double-entry bookkeeping last week. I have just seen a new 50p piece and wondered if you could explain the offside rule to me. Thank you.
Alan from Sittingbourne.
Dear Alan from Sittingbourne,
Thank you for your question. This is a question wot has confused a lot of people and a lot of referees and those people wot carry flags and run in a straight line pretending to be part of the game.
I have been out to the playing field to have a look at the set up there and I think I know how it works. Ian has also thrown me a few tennis balls with my thrower so I can get a feel for the nuances of the rule. While this is technically ‘mouthball’ I can’t see anything in the rules wot sez you can’t carry the ball in your teeth and growl wen someone tries to take it off you.
Right, ‘offside’ is wen a dog waits to pick up a ball wen there is less than two other dogs (or cats) nearer the oblong-roddy thing. Supposedly this is a goal – I thought it woz a toilet (number ones only – never number twos!). I have dun a diagram (using cats) to explain the situation.
Here I am offside coz I am in front of the second to last cat and the ball. However, cos I am not actually holding the ball in my teeth, then I am not committing an offside offence, but if the ball was thrown to me (whether or not after the throwing, I woz still in an offside position) I would have committed an offside offence. This is active play – all the play I do is active, except for tummy tickling.
In this second diagram I am not offside as the ball is in front of me despite the fact that I only have the goal cat in front of me. Although if I had been offside to start with then I would still be offside. By the way, it doesn’t have to be a goal cat, it can be any cat.
I can only be offside wen I am the half of the field wot is not the half wot I started off at. This is easy! I can’t be offside if Ian throws the ball (whether he uses the plastic thrower or not) from the corner or side or if he kicks the ball from the goal area.
Since 2005, the people wot make up the rules have said that ‘nearer to an opponent’s goal line’ means any part of the body apart from the paws. This is a bit unfair as some dogs have very long noses.
If the dog is offside (and an offence is committed) then there is an indirect free throw. The dog must ‘Sit’ and ‘Stay’ until told, ‘Go on, get the ball’.
It is possible to set an offside ‘trap’ where a dog runs up the field and all the cats run in the opposite direction (usually leaving the goal cat in place). This is both dangerous and unlikely, as to get one cat to do something you tell it is improbable, let alone a number of them.
Cats make very good goalkeepers as long as the ball is made of wool or mouse. If the ball is like a tennis ball or something, then they are RUBBISH.
By the way, if there is a game between dogs and cats and a cat hears one of the dogs make a rude comment about their species, then the cat can tell someone and the dog wot said the rude comment will get banned for chasing eight balls. You have been warned.
Ian says that if you want me to go into further details, you’ll have to come and stay with me. Remember, we’re one of the most dog friendly guesthouses in the UK (won the Kennel Club’s Somewhere to Sleep award in 2008).
See you soon. if you have a question you want answered, use the comments link below and I’ll get round to it.
Until next week, Ozy