You may already know that I’m a bit of a sports fanatic, so fall is full of abundance for me – football, hockey, and more than a passing interest in the World Series this year … I actually …
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You may already know that I’m a bit of a sports fanatic, so fall is full of abundance for me – football, hockey, and more than a passing interest in the World Series this year … I actually attended the Nationals’ first ever home opener in Washington, D.C.
What I’ve learned from years of watching sports is that no matter how tempting it is to blame baffling officiating, one bad call doesn’t determine the outcome of the entire game … too much has happened up to that point.
Although I know this intellectually, I’m still unhappy about two early-season Broncos’ defeats with questionable roughing-the-passer penalties late in each game that might – might – have cost us these games.
If you watched Monday Night Football on Oct. 14, you probably heard the booth announcers go absolutely nuts about penalties called against the Detroit Lions’ Trey Flowers for illegal hands to the face. Television replays (not official reviews) showed that Flowers didn’t actually commit the fouls and it’s possible – possible – that Detroit would have gotten the ball back after the ensuing Green Bay field goal. There – might – might have been enough time for the Lions to score in the final seconds of the game. Unexpected outcomes happen all the time.
And, of course, the controversial interference call against the Nationals in the 6th game of their series with the Houston Astros could – could – have changed the entire championship, ending Washington’s season and handing the World Series title to the Astros before a Game 7.
In sports, we have often-dubious technology such as instant replay, which can sometimes result in a do-over. But replay rules don’t apply to all situations and even if calls are eligible for official review, there’s usually not conclusive evidence to overturn the call.
Even as incensed as I have been, however, with egregious officiating errors – missed as well as misapplied like the roughing-the passer calls against Denver – I truly do recognize that a) people make mistakes, b) technology can’t fix ’em all, and c) one call does not make or break the entire game. Yes, the timing of these calls can affect the rest of the game but – and this is a tough one for me to admit much of the time – the whole of the game, or the season, prior to that point is what makes that particular moment so, well, momentous.
Plus, what happens after a bad call, such as home runs to help force Game 7 or a renewed focus the next time the team takes the field (Brandon Allen, perhaps?), can make all the difference in the ultimate outcomes.
Many of us acknowledge that, from time to time, we make bad calls in our own lives and, sometimes, other people make mistakes that affect us. There’s no instant replay and usually no do-overs.
Yet, this is when we can not only reflect on how we got to this point but also to concentrate on what comes next … rather than what may, might, possibly, could have, should have happened. We likely won’t get the chance for a home run to save the series, but we often have the opportunity to take the field again on another day.
After all, unexpected outcomes happen all the time.
Andrea Doray is a writer who can’t wait for the ridiculous contract dispute over Avalanche broadcasts to be resolved so she can also watch hockey. Contact Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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