CHARLOTTE, NC, April 3, 2014 – I confess to being a sports purest. Admittedly I am in the minority. I am among those ancient relics who have been bypassed by technology. Having said all that, replays are ruining the sports we love and the drama that goes with them.
Pandora’s Box has been opened and there is no going back. It will only get worse. Major league professional sports have given in to modern day technology in the name of “getting it right.” Count me among those who liked it better when “getting it wrong” was part of the game and officiating was something that could not be done on automatic pilot.
We are witnessing the woosification of our sports to the detriment of the games we grew up watching thanks to pixels and freeze frames. The question is, have they made the games better? They have certainly made them longer.
Add television timeouts to red flag controversies in professional football and 60 minutes of clock time has now become more than three hours of air time.
Good old fashioned dirt kicking, base throwing arguments have been part of the fun of baseball for more than a century. No more because now they are “going to get it right.”
That being the case, let’s eliminate officials in every sport altogether and let CGIs determine the outcome. Better yet, why not build robots to play the games and save millions of dollars on high priced human personnel who frequently receive massive paychecks for not playing after season ending injuries.
Major league baseball plays 162 games every season. Do we honestly believe that an umpire’s decision will have so much effect over the course of that many games that it will determine the outcome of a pennant race? Every sport has so many variables throughout a game that most of the time there is no way to figure out which mistakes or outstanding plays actually alters the outcome of a game. And, if they can be determined, we are talking about what represents 1/162nd of an entire season.
Part of the beauty of sports used to be the ability of players and teams to adjust to bad calls and still come out on top. Certainly a call at the end of a close game is magnified by the time at which it occurs, but there are always other mistakes, most often committed by the poor execution of fundamentals by players, that more likely affect the difference between victory and defeat.
Baseball has always represented a sports version of everyday life. During the season it is a daily occurrence where good things and bad things happen. Sometimes those things, good or bad, are unfair, but the life lesions of the game are that we overcome the setbacks and find other ways to succeed.
There are no instant replays in life. So let’s get them out of our sports as well. Bring back the good old face-to-face confrontations between manages and the men in blue. Let fans complain and moan that “We was robbed.” It’s all part of the game. It worked for more than 100 years and replays do not work now.
Professional football is the worst offender. How many times have we watched replay after replay and angle after angle determine whether a player “broke the plane” or had “his foot in bounds or out” or “fumbled or didn’t fumble.” The NFL has added so many insignificant rules to the sport today that it is virtually impossible to follow the games any more.
Rather than continuous action, we are now treated to authorities on high who make judgments with the pause button while fans sit and wait for them to be sure to “get it right.”
Of course the argument is that there is so much money involved these days that we no longer have the luxury to savor the joy of sport. Sports these days are not fun. Rather they are matters of life and death. They are a business doncha know. Fine. If that is true, then use replays during the post-season when championships are on the line and leave the regular season alone.
Let’s just go back to playing ball. Sometimes technology does little more than get in the way. Modern day sports is a perfect example Turn off the electronics for the sake of the games we love.
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com).
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