Living in the Moment

With the World Cup, Galarraga’s almost-perfect game, and other recent sporting events, there’s been a lot of talk of the need for instant replay. I’m intrigued by calls for this because I mostly disagree.

As I write this, Argentina just scored against Mexico, but were obviously off-side on the TV replay.

Most programmers I talk to see sports as black and white. There is a right call for every play, and replays help get them right. I’ve even talked to people who wish robots could officiate, so they could always get it right.

However, I think there’s something to be said for living in the moment and trusting the officials on the field. Sure, they’ll make mistakes; they’re human.

Would we still be talking about Galarraga’s game had it been deemed perfect via replay, or would we have mostly forgotten it? Would pub conversations be as colorful if off-sides was reviewable or robots could officiate? I think not.

Human fallibility gives us shared outrage, collective frustration, and frankly, something to talk about. While there are certainly cases of instant replay done well (NHL) I keep a special place in my heart for sports that rely on the calls on the field.

What do you think?

Photo of Daniel Morrison

Daniel founded Collective Idea in 2005 to put a name to his growing and already full-time freelance work. He works hard writing code, teaching, and mentoring.


  1. June 27, 2010 at 16:29 PM

    sorry bro, but the NHL does NOT have ‘instant replay done well’ (see: ‘intent to blow the whistle’ and the inability for the instant reply refs in toronto to overrule the on ice call)

  2. June 27, 2010 at 16:31 PM

    Carl Morrison: haha, good point. I was thinking it was done well in the sense of it doesn’t slow down the game too much.

  3. June 27, 2010 at 18:09 PM

    this is what reply would have shown, so it really doesn’t make a difference

  4. June 28, 2010 at 0:00 AM

    I totally agree, as long as the bad call is not against my team :P

  5. June 29, 2010 at 12:56 PM

    Totally agree too, I’m from Brazil and our soccer league is very competitive, without the humam factor, it wouldn’t be so good.