Is Technology Really Advancing Sports?

The world of sports is ever-changing. Older players retire and new stars break through. Outdated rules are washed away while new rules are ushered in to provide a safer, yet still more entertaining game. However, the changes being made today are far more than just names and guidelines; they are technological changes that are seeing the sports be updated with the world around them. As new technology comes out, new applications appear within the boundaries of major sports associations across the nation and throughout the world.

Sports are quickly becoming highly mechanized. While, on the surface, the increased mechanization of different aspects of games seems like an ideality for consistency, some view the changes in a much different, more pessimistic way. Questions arise about the soul of athletics. For instance, how much human error should be involved in a sporting event? Obviously, the competitors themselves do all they can to become successful and victorious. Even with countless hours of training and preparation, human error is inevitable for the athletes, but nobody is arguing that self-sufficient robots would create a more entertaining event than watching human rivals battle away. However, the area with the most persistently ridiculed actions is that of officiating.

The flow and outcome of any game can be largely affected by those in charge of making all the calls. Whether the calls are correct or incorrect, participators and fans alike will never be uniformly satisfied. With a switch to automated machines for all applicable non-judgement calls, some of the human error would be eliminated from the officiating. Also, with the advancement in technology that is only a short time away, it could soon be possible to completely eliminate the need for human officials in any sport. The debate still exists as to whether decreased human error in officiating is a positive. A simple way to look at it is that it does increase consistency and therefore creates competitions that are won on skill more likely instead of luck. However, sports are based on human error. That’s the beauty held within athletic competition. The randomness that comes along with the possibility of human error creates a sense of mystery that heightens that excitement for competitors and spectators. With the addition of technology and the subsequent removal of some of that randomness, the core values of sports can begin to diminish.

Much like the majority of debatable topics with two opposing sides, a middle ground is most likely the ideal situation. For instance, goal line technology, which has recently been implemented into Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) matches. A main push for this change came after a crucial non goal call was made in the 2010 World Cup when a shot from English player Frank Lampard beat the German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. An instance like this presents no downside to increased technology. On the other hand, the Immaculate Reception is well known partially because no cameras had the right angle to see if the ball touched the ground or not. Due partly to this mystery behind the catch, it is still talked of today and is one of the most well-known football plays of all time. If there can be an effective amount of technology implemented into different sports without harming the beauty of those sports, then that is when new technology is truly a step forward for athletics.

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