SE+ Perspective | a perspective on sports matters

VAR Overanalyzes The Beautiful Game

Creativity and mistakes are part of The Beautiful Game, so let it be.

A centimeter here, a centimeter there. A goal disallowed here, a goal disallowed there.

What’s it all, really? It’s overanalysis. And it takes away from what matters—The Beautiful Game, the play, the goal.

I’m all for technology. I’m writing this article on my MacBook Air, 13-inch, 2020, 1.1 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5. I’m using Microsoft Word, and I have Grammarly and other spell checks automatically checking what I write. Later, I will email this to my editor, and then I’ll review the article before publishing it on our website. There’s a lot of technology in that process. But none of that process takes away from creativity. Technology enhances the creative.

It’s like the technology attached to each field player during a soccer game, tracking steps and endurance and who knows what else. All of the tracking is to enhance performance, to allow for the best to come out in each player and each team.

VAR, which stands for Video Assistance Referee, brings in technology with good intentions. There’s no way three refs on a pitch can see it all. And even if they could, they will make mistakes. That’s what we humans do. So, let’s get technology in the game to minimize mistakes. I’m all for that—except when we use that technology to split hairs about whether a player is offsides or not.

Overanalysis creates two problems.

Number one, there’s a stop in the game. This is good for no one. It ruins the flow. You don’t stop writing when you are in the flow, so why are we stopping a soccer game while it is still going if we don’t have to? When there’s been no injury and it’s not halftime?

Number two, it removes the beauty of the game and removes the human element. The play was created by humans, it was watched over by humans (refs), but now we need some machine to tell us if Harry Kane was offside by a centimeter. Does it really matter? If he is off by a meter, well then, different story. But that’s not what we’re talking about. We are losing sight of the beauty of the game of soccer when we start focusing in on microscopic lines.

Make the decision and go. The midfielder made a decision to make a play, the striker made his move, the defender did his thing, the goalie his, the ref his. Let the players decide what happens. Let the beauty of the game take over. If a mistake is made, it won’t be the first nor last.

It’s like this article or that thing you are working on right now. There may be some mistakes. Whatever. I’m sending this to my editor and it will publish soon. On to the next play….

Did someone say soccer podcast? We got that here.