Has technology changed things for the better?

Technology has changed society in too many ways to count. It has certainly changed sports in a drastic way and will continue to do so.  And there is no denying that time is directly correlated with the advances in sports technology.

Every professional and collegiate sport has come to the point where each detail is displayed through technology. In some cases, this has driven the love of sports to the sidelines. This is because it’s easy to get caught up in one controversial call or rule that can make or break the outcome of a game. We have even come to the point where every call needs to be reviewed; rule changes have also become normal. Let’s be honest, the ability to review every little detail has changed our outlook on the game itself.

The world has changed, and professional sports have kept up with the times in this last decade. There have certainly been some positives that have resulted from technology’s presence in sports. It has created platforms for athletes to promote change and it helps to improve the integrity of the game. For example, LeBron James has been able to use social media to his advantage to help promote change in many forms. Whether it is speaking out on social issues or helping to raise money for different charities and organizations that help those in need. Athletes have become influencers for good causes, like mentioned above, which has made an impact on our society.

The game’s integrity has also improved because calls aren’t decided by one referee’s perspective. For instance, controversial calls don’t have to be judged by just one person’s vantage point. Instead, officials have the ability to look at multiple different replays from all different angles to make sure the correct call should be made. This has helped ensure that most of the time, calls are correct. The question now becomes, “Will this technological enhancement in sports ever end?” 

We’ve made sports into more than just a game. Don’t get me wrong, it is more than just a game for a lot of people. For some people, it is their very livelihood as they live and die with every play. Whether it is due to tradition, family or just a love and passion for the game, sports can be made into more than just a game. But, what is the cost of technology within sports? If we continue to look at professional and collegiate athletics under such a large lens, we could lose sight of the joy that playing a game can bring people — not only those who play, but those who get the opportunity to watch and escape from the real world for a few hours. 

Time has a funny way of changing the things we love. There will always be positives and negatives about the prevalence of technology within sports, but it’s up to us to focus on what matters the most. The message that each call is more crucial than the last and that every camera angle known to man is used can create controversy at any given moment. This then overshadows the game. 

An example is last season’s NFC Divisional Round game that saw the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams come down to the wire. A controversial non-call ended up being the highlight of the game. The call was bad —  possibly the worst I’ve ever seen. But those who haven’t played sports don’t understand that one specific play doesn’t decide a game. Yes, the non-call that should have been deemed pass interference was an impactful play, but it did not decide the game’s outcome. 

This is something the technological world will never understand. History will always remember that game for the non-call because technology showed the world that a foul should have been called on the play in a crucial situation.

Technology has changed so much of our entertainment over time —  sports is just one thing on the list. Innovation in technology isn’t stopping any time soon, and sports will continue to change with it. My hope is that we don’t lose sight of the joy that comes with sports, and that technology doesn’t take away from the fun. The feeling of playing sports or watching sports is one that is unlike many others; it makes me feel like a kid again. That won’t ever change for me, but it can change for others, and for this, I am concerned.