From my own experience I've found that the sports teams that most loudly lobby the ref about fouls are generally the most likely to actually commit the fouls. These same teams are often the ones most likely to dive trying to draw the foul yet again.
For anyone who doesn't know, a dive is intentionally falling down so that the ref will assume a foul has been committed against you. It's an illegal move and one that I've seen draw a yellow card.
Playing against the cheating/whining style team is very frustrating. One reason is that the cries of foul and the dives are often seen as real and fouls are called that weren't committed. Often the ref is just doing the best job he can, and I generally tend to trust refs are doing so, even if they call a few nonexistent fouls. But as a game progresses, a good ref will learn how the different players on the field play. He will see the fake fouls and the real fouls, but this isn't always the case. It wasn't the case today.
I'm not going to pretend that we lost today because of cheating or bad calls. The winning goal was scored off a free kick that happened due to a hand ball inside the box. That sucks, but at least it was a valid call. All goals scored were done legally and were not the result of cheating. I will complain some about the game I endured today.
Today's gripes: I was slapped and shoved pretty hard in the back several times. I was hit in the ribs. I was thrown to the ground. I even had some one's shoe right in my butt crack. I was kicked in the knees, and that's were tonight's pain is mostly centered.
A good physical game is a thing of beauty. Two teams with respect for the game, themselves and their opponents can play a rough, physically aggressive game without cheating, without hitting, without throwing people down. I know it can happen. I play aggressively, but I am strongly anti-cheating. To me, cheating is admitting that you aren't good enough.
So the cheating was mostly, in my opinion, a lack of respect for us and the game. We should have beaten this team, and with some better passing and shooting, we would have. We did this in spite of being knocked around and tripped. At one point, one of the opposing team was actually holding one of my team mates down after a slide tackle by pushing his head so that our player couldn't get up. The ref called the foul on our guy, said he was playing the ball from the ground. That's the kind of service we got from the ref today. He was more concerned about my foul language than calling the came correctly.
Oh well, next week we play the South team. I know one of their players as a grade A grumbler, the guy that sails balls ten feet over the goal and bitches about the grass. We'll beat them, and next week's soccer blog will be carefree and full of happy woohoos.