The offside rule in football (soccer) dates back to the early 18oos. It is designed to curtail creative moves by the advancing team by penalising its active player if he has the ball ahead of all but one of the defenders:
“Offside position: It is not an offence in itself to be in an offside position. A player is in an offside position if he is nearer to his opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent. A player is not in an offside position if he is in his own half of the field of play, or he is level with the second-last opponent, or he is level with the last two opponents.
Offence: A player in an offside position is only penalised if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by interfering with play, or interfering with an opponent, or gaining an advantage by being in that position.
No offence: There is no offside offence if a player receives the ball directly from a goal kick, a throw-in, a corner kick.” — FIFA Laws of the Game
With improved ball-handling techniques and fitter players (who can cover over 10km in a game), the offside rule has become an increasing restriction to game flow and goal scores. It may be time to ditch it and have the referees better spend their time watching the goal line instead.
Another offside rule that stifles creativity is arts-science streaming in schooling. It generally goes by the rule that the academically inclined should pursue the sciences and downplay or even ignore the arts, which usually includes the humanities. This ‘rule’ is becoming increasingly ridiculous in our multi-disciplinary world where creativity is best found in intersections of disciplines.
I was fortunate to escape the arts-science offside rule. When I was studying for “o-Levels” in 1971 at a small public library in Kuching, Sarawak, I fortuitously came across a book on american architect Frank Lloyd Wright. A picture of his “Fallingwater” house cantilevering over a waterfall at Bear Run, Pennsylvania, leap out the pages at me. I remember rushing back to speak to my Principal, Nigel Heyward, about it. He made an exception for me to study both science (physics, maths and chemistry) and art. I went on happily to study architecture in Nottingham, England. Needless to say, I am an advocate of removing the arts-science offside rule.
I have also not forgotten the librarian who probably went against the wisdom of the day by placing an architecture book in the midst of hard-core science and technology dominated bookshelves. We need more such agents of creativity to beat offside traps.