I always wondered what made sports so special. People skip important events, take leave from work, and tell lies to closed ones just so that they can watch their favourite team play on match-day. Fans do everything so that they can be in the stadium/court to support their team as one. This sense of belonging brings out such passion in people.
It means that more than anything it is the human tendency to socialize which makes sports so special. The players sure do play their part but the referees also make the game exciting. Their decisions spice up any game and bring that extra punch of thrill and excitement. Their wrong decisions also have become an integral aspect of sports because the human element is valued immensely in sports.
With rapid commercialization going on everywhere, sports leagues are finding new ways of making objective decisions when the referees can’t make a call. And it is being done with technologies like Sportscast in MLB or Video Assistant Referee in soccer.
But is it taking away the raw passion away from sports?
Analogous to hedge-fund
Nowadays the referee does not have the final call on matters as there is no scope for marginal errors. A definite answer is needed at all costs and for that hundreds of cameras are placed all over the field/arena to provide instant replays of an incident. All this to be able to tell conclusively, what happened.
While the replays are being reviewed by experts there is literally nothing going on in the match. Everybody’s attention is lost and the match loses its thrill.
This tardy process is comparable with hedge-fund in the sense that in both of the cases the objective is to efficiently reach at a final outcome by eliminating all uncertainties which are caused by human error.
It is harming the competitive spirit
These people who make decisions in the sports industry argue that introduction of technology in sports is essential so that major tournaments are not entirely decided by referees. Last year’s Game Seven between the Warriors and the Rockets comes to mind here.
Warriors won the Conference Finals against the Rockets but aggrieved with the decision-making by the referee in the game Rockets created a video analysis of their own. It was made on what they called ‘proprietary interpretation software’. The Rockets argued in front of the league office that the referee made bad calls at multiple incidents and that is what cost them the game.
The truth is the Rockets were horrendous that day. They could manage only 7 points against the Warriors’ 44 from three-point range. There was a point when they missed 27 three-point shots in a row. And then instead of looking at their performance they came out saying that the referees cost them the game. This is just a glimpse of what technology can do to sports.
My personal opinion is that technology should be used in a limited sense in sports. For example in soccer the VAR technology is called upon only in matters which are extremely controversial. And the on-field referee has discretion whether to employ VAR or not.