When I was playing third grade cricket in my much younger years, we were in a tough semi-final battle with the prize on offer of a spot in the final.
I was still at bat with the scores tied and one wicket in hand. A bouncer presented the perfect opportunity to win the game in a blaze of glory and my hook shot sailed to the boundary while I was ready to start celebrating. The fielder stood on the timber log that marked the boundary and took a magnificent catch - but while standing on the boundary that would count as a six.
The opposing team were convinced he had not used the boundary in taking the catch and therefore it was a fair catch.
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Despite the umpire eventually giving me out, I am convinced to this day that I had hit a six. Luckily on a countback we still ended up going through to the final but it would have been so much easier if only we had some way of checking what actually happened.
Most people take the approach that the concept of swings and roundabouts applies with decisions in sport. Officials are doing their best but they are not perfect and mistakes are made.
Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Making the final in third grade is probably not life-defining but if you are playing international sport and your career is on the line, a mistake by an official can make or break a career.
A mistake by an official can make or break a career.
I remember watching cricket in the eighties and seeing a player run out with subsequent replays showing he was clearly in - and vice versa.
If viewers at home could see this, why couldn't umpires use this.
The cricket world agreed and in 1992 the third umpire (or TV umpire) was introduced to check these decisions. Sachin Tendulkar, known more for his brilliant career, has the unique distinction of being the first player adjudged run-out by the third umpire.
Technology in sport is commonplace now. Cricket has added hawk-eye and snicko and hot spot for better decision making.
Tennis has the line review system with the subsequent build-up from the crowd while they watch the track of the ball. Basketball uses replay vision to determine if players shoot before the shot clock expires.
Rugby League has the bunker used in weekly NRL matches and Rugby Union has a Television Match Official (TMO) to aid with decisions on field. The NFL has used TV replays for decades.
Soccer has only recently started to use technology for close goal line determinations but, with the 2022 World Cup only months away, FIFA has announced new technology that will be used in Qatar for the first time in soccer.
You don't need to sit at a soccer match for long before you will hear calls - and debate - about players being offside. It is a complicated rule and often hard for officials to judge.
Specifically to help judge players who are offside, the World Cup will feature a ball that relays its position 500 times per second so a computer system can know exactly where the ball is at any moment in time.
Then 12 tracking cameras will be mounted around the stadium to track players and each player will have 29 tracking points on their body.
Combine all of that with some artificial intelligence and alerts will be sent to officials so the on-field referees can have more information at their disposal to make the correct call with players offside.
Tell me if you think that technology should help match officials make decisions at email@example.com
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