Friday, September 01, 2006

US Open, Andre Agassi and Video Line Calls

The US Open has been great so far, with one of the best and most exciting games played in recent memory between Baghdartis and Agassi. Agassi's match with Blake last year was pretty good to but this one was a true classic. Watching it live until 1:30 in the morning and jumping around the living room was exhausting.

Agassi has said this is his last tournament and I wonder if he is going to publish his biography in the coming years. He is certainly a personality that could move some units. Whereas he has traditionally been very closed about his upbringing and sporting life, he recently expressed more of himself in an article in Sport Illustrated.

This year marks the introduction of video line calls. A player gets to challenge via instant replay a set number of calls per set. When I heard about this it seemed to me games would become similar to The Price is Right with the fans screaming advice to the players. In fact, the implementation has been far better than that, but I am not a fan of introducing this type of technology into sport. I don't approve of goal line video or the camera used in cricketfor runouts. I don't want to seem old fashioned but the ref is as much a part of the game as are the players. The ref gets it right and wrong just like the players and as such the human element adds to the enjoyment and frustration of the game. If we wanted it perfect we should put a bunch of robots out there who never put a pass wrong, always score and are never bowled. Now how much fun would that be to watch? Sure England would have beaten Portugal in the European championship but it is the element of chance and unpredictability that makes sports so fun and interesting.

I can almost guarantee that someone is going to say the technology used to predict where the ball landed isn't good enough and will want improvements. Next thing you know there won't be any refs actually at the games they will all be in a dark room watching remotely as a computer makes the decisions.

No comments: