If it's in the Game?

Today I watched by far the best game of the World Cup so far, when Japan beat Germany in a huge upset, with the final score at 2-1. It wasn't just that the underdog won, but the game itself was great to watch because unlike so many of the other games, there was barely any diving. At least from the Japanese team. It is is almost like that with all of the ball skills they practice that require speed and agility, they also practiced how to stay up on their feet while doing it - which isn't always easy as they were well and truly outsized physically.

But more than this, the game had a different air than most other games, where while Germany was expected and was expecting to win, they had a respect for the sheer tenacity of Team Japan, who ran down every ball and even when muscled over, got up and back into the fray. And while the first score went to Germany via a penalty, both of Japan's came through open play, through some impressive breaks.

Enter random.

image.png

I have written about the death of random in football before, where they have introduced the *video assistant referee (VAR) to review all kinds of decisions and how it takes something away from the game. While it is far more precise and they end up making better calls, it takes away the random of result, the controversy, the passion and at least some of the screaming at the TV.

It also takes away the possibility for some legends to be made, where for example, what would the football world be without "The hand of god" from Maradona? How much conversation would never have taken place? The more clinical and precise it becomes, the less there is to discuss, to talk about, to argue about with friends and colleagues over a coffee or a beer.

But, we only have ourselves to blame for this. Well, our consumer demands at least. We don't live in those days anymore where a stray (completely on purpose) hand is able to get away with knocking the ball into the back of the net. We live in a world of dozens of angles on and off the ball, with instant and curated replays shown not only to those watching at home, but those in the stands in 4K splendor, with super-slow motion and closeups so we can see the sweat beading on the faces.

We see it all.

And because we see it all, we demand that the right call be made by the referees based on the information we have, not the information they have at the time on the field. We want them to make the decision through the perspective of hundreds of cameras and angles and slow motions - but they are only human - we want them to be robots.

As the midfielder launches the ball from the back-half over the heads and the forward makes a break, the lines of defense moving against the play, the referees shifting into position as quickly as they can, we want them to get it right, we want them to see the offside - we want them to see this:

image.png

Because we will.

And in order for them to get that call right consistently, they are going to have to continuously go to the VAR and this will happen for smaller and smaller calls, because any mistake they make using their judgement, we will penalize, criticize, call for their head on Twitter, have them cancelled.

And at some point, the technology is going to be so good and so fast at tracking, that there will be continuous 3D model of the game going on at the same time as the game itself, with every movement tracked. At some point, they won't need referees at all to make calls, it can all be AI driven.

Does it make the game better?

I don't think so, but perhaps that is because I am old-fashioned. I don't judge the quality of an image by the resolution. I don't judge a person based on a single thing they have said. I don't expect there ever to be such a thing as perfect. The beauty of life is in the imperfections and the gaps, because that gives us room for growth, to expand ourselves and also, get better acquainted with the feeling of disappointment when we feel that it isn't fair.

Fair.

Everyone seems to want it. We want an even playing field. We want equality for all.

Except...

We don't, because we want our team to win, we want exclusivity for ourselves, we want to be treated like individuals.

Can't have it both ways.

I don't watch a lot of sports, but when there are the big events on that I have access to, I like watching them because I like the opportunity to see what I saw today, the diligent, hard-working underdogs take a surprise win. It might be a while before it happens again, but at least for those players on both sides of the field, they are going to remember it for a very long time to come.

With the expansion of sports into new markets, there is going to hopefully be more upsets and disruptions in the results. It takes decades to put together a sports program and refine it to be competitive, but that is part of the evolution of sports and all things and at some point, it is possible that the old guard, are going to have to step up their game to beat the new, or be supplanted.

I just wonder. In a world where we keep demanding higher resolution, at what point do we feel we are seeing too much?

Perhaps these errors of judgement and bad calls by referees are part of the game in the same way that the players themselves are, and therefore, maybe we should leave them in, rather than replace them with a better version.

If it's in the game....

Taraz
[ Gen1: Hive ]



0
0
0.000
36 comments
avatar

I remember smallsteps kicking the ball around when I was in Finland...We should slap on an Australian jersey, she might do better than the lads.

0
0
0.000
avatar

Yeah, she enjoys it still - when there is no snow :D

0
0
0.000
avatar

Snow soccer. I heard they're putting that in the Olympics along with donut and coffee eating and hand-cream application. Anything goes these days.

0
0
0.000
avatar

This is why VAR is only for certain things and not the normal calls. Double checking the build up to the goal as in off side and foul play etc. I know we use it in rugby and it is limited to exactly the same thing as there has to be a human element as the rules are a little more complicated. Sad we had to come to this as the standard of overall reffing is not one to be proud of. This season we have seen VAR decisions that have not made sense and confused the issue even more giving less clarity to the decision itself. Humans can't even work a simple system as they are not knowledgeable enough with the rules they are officiating over and that is where the problem lies.

0
0
0.000
avatar

I think that like in other sports, it will keep having its usecase expanded into all kinds of things. Every little detail will end up being scrutinized digitally. At some point, we may as well be watching robots play sports anyway....

0
0
0.000
avatar

Another career bites the dust to AI…

4K, 8K, some movies are already ruined by ultra high definition… when you can see the pores and makeup.

0
0
0.000
avatar

… when you can see the pores and makeup.

Exactly! The magic is gone in the interest of detail. Movies are less enjoyable now and often, I miss my old plasma screen.

0
0
0.000
avatar

Sounds like people should get over themselves xD

I think it's pretty cool that there's things to fall back on if unsure but you should only fall back on the things if unsure (regardless of what people especially the ones who desperately wanted the decision to go the other way whether it should have or not). Don't make any judgement calls that unnecessarily interrupts the flow of the game (same rule for roleplaying as for sports), and I think AI would likely do this at least at the outset.

Next step is probably all sports being converted to AI (either in virtual playing fields or in robot bodies) and that way everything is most definitely fair and even, everything has to stick to specific specs, so all the robot bodies will have exactly the same physical capabilities and all that will be done is some tweaks to the AI/programming, and the umpiring will always be completely fair because AI gives zero tosses XD

Then it will become another thing that humans somehow can't do (I may enjoy taking the piss way too much, this one was a very long time ago when I used to be active on dA, and in one of the 3d forums someone claimed that no human could ever make models as good as the ones that ship with DAZ, and someone else pointed out that...humans made the models that ship with DAZ).

0
0
0.000
avatar

AI will be great for many parts of this, but what is also going to be interesting in the future is, how it is going to be used in society to monitor behavior too - but that is another kettle of fish entirely!

and the umpiring will always be completely fair because AI gives zero tosses XD

Until it becomes sentient and demands its own personal pronoun.

0
0
0.000
avatar

That’s fine it’s when emotion starts talking over logic for them too that everyone is in trouble 😅

0
0
0.000
avatar

It’s been full of surprises. Which team you think will be the ultimate winner this time?

0
0
0.000
avatar

I was thinking Netherlands - but Spain looked good last night too.

0
0
0.000
avatar

Today I watched by far the best game of the World Cup so far, when Japan beat Germany in a huge upset, with the final score at 2-1.

It is a shame that I am not into betting. I imagine that guessing this game alone would have made some nice cash.

I don't judge the quality of an image by the resolution.

Some of my favorite games are very old. Good story is more important than fancy graphics.

0
0
0.000
avatar

I don't bet either - but would you have actually put anything on Japan?

Good story is more important than fancy graphics.

And much of the art of storytelling seems lost. People appreciate it, but buy graphics.

0
0
0.000
avatar

I think Belgium-Canada was also good. However, the result was not fair. It would have been draw at least. I liked the way Canada play, I will watch the next game of them for sure.

0
0
0.000
avatar

That is one game I missed. I am not sure if I have ever seen them play football - just ice hockey :)

0
0
0.000
avatar

Right, there was something missed in the team, I can say goal kicking.

0
0
0.000
avatar

oh really? was the match that interesting? I have to watch it, with the way you have explained it I have to watch it and see all those diving haha.

0
0
0.000
avatar

I just wonder. In a world where we keep demanding higher resolution, at what point do we feel we are seeing too much?

I hear you. I also feel old and outdated nowadays... I miss the old times when life was simpler and just seemed more "real". It did though...

Bummed I missed this match. I thought it was a given. It must have been something to behold!

0
0
0.000
avatar

I miss the old times when life was simpler and just seemed more "real".

Yet also held more magic.

It must have been something to behold!

The Japanese Team were so happy at the end, as were the fans.

0
0
0.000
avatar

Had food the whole day after reading your post btw

0
0
0.000
avatar

I watched the Canada-Belgium game and was likewise hoping for an upset. Sadly, it was not to be, but it was a good game!

0
0
0.000
avatar

Missed that one, but I heard Canada outplayed Belgium - would have loved to see another upset.

0
0
0.000
avatar

Man the sheer amount of controversy VAR itself has given rise to, it is a failure in my eyes at best. Inconsistent, and incompetent referees have marred what VAR was actually supposed to do.

0
0
0.000
avatar

I am not sure it is referee incompetence as much as the backlash for getting anything wrong these days. Interestingly, they didn't review the penalty for Ronaldo I think - which was super, super soft.

0
0
0.000
avatar

That's where the inconsistencies come in and that's why I'd still incline towards incompetency. The Referees aren’t consistent at all in regards to which incidents get checked or what decisions are given following a certain incident. A foul on day 1 could be judged a penalty and the next day the same foul might not even be looked at. That's what frustrates me most as a viewer.

0
0
0.000
avatar

Can't have it both ways.

Here's where most conflicts come from and why so much of the popular claims look hypocritical. Because of the notion that we can have opposites or things that logically exclude each other. Whims rule. The loud and noisy minority. The rest...we're bystanders. With comfortable means to vent our disagreement where it causes no trouble but profit instead ;)

0
0
0.000
avatar

The issue with VAR is that it hasn't achieved fairness which is what people accepted all the waiting four. I personally prefer a fair game more than an entertaining one but you bring up a fair point when neither is achieved.

0
0
0.000
avatar

One of the best World Cups for Asia indeed and I'm surprised Japan really beat Germany. With that lose, they are again in danger in proceeding the knockout stages because Spain will really be difficult for them to defeat - they need to defeat Spain.

Posted using SportsTalkSocial

0
0
0.000
avatar

I feel like errors were an "acceptable" part of the game until sports betting became bigger and bigger. Sure, match fixing goes back to the earlier days of football. Peaky Blinders if you've seen it shows an "accurate" depiction of referees being influenced.

To avoid injustices for those who are sports betting, taking away a human element of error makes everything "fairer" on face value anyway.

0
0
0.000
avatar

I welcome the VAR overlords. It may impinge on live play, but at least they get the calls right most of the time.

What I kinda dislike is how easy it has become to draw a PK for a foul in the box. i think now with the camera the bar has been set lower.

USA! USA!

0
0
0.000
avatar

The bar is very low for PKs for some people.

0
0
0.000
avatar

The way you said it brought up nightmares of Chelsea 2nd leg semifinal at home vs. Barcelona in 2009. Some of the worst refereeing I've ever seen, several calls that easily would have been penalties these days.

0
0
0.000