I was awake until the wee hours last night, literally, watching the Kentucky-Louisville basketball game along with a few hundred other people. I do not often watch sports events on television, though at one time in my life I was a serious fan of college basketball. Things change. I have changed: I am much older now, and time is precious. One can only do so much, and the older I get, the less I do. That is not what this rant is about.
The game itself has changed. From the early days of my interest in the sport, that would have been in the mid-20th century, Clyde, and Wes, and "Hooks" played a game we knew as basketball. They loved the game, and so did we, the fans. Today's game resembles that game in its rudiments: the court, the ball, and that's about it. But that is not what this rant is about, either.
I did have a favorite in this game, but that is irrelevant to the rant as well.
Last night's game, poorly executed or brilliantly played as it was, came down to a handful of seconds on the clock with either team in a position to win it. That is what the game should be! But wait. And wait. The referee made his call, awarding the out-of-bounds ball to Louisville. But then. And this is what the rant is about.
For the next seven minutes, the officials reviewed the play via television monitors to determine if the call were correct. Meanwhile, the network showed the audience at home the disputed play over and over and over and so on and so forth. (The call on the floor was upheld.) Before this sort of nonsensical interference in the game, the official would have immediately handed the ball to the player for the inbounds play, and the game would have proceeded.
Look. Basketball officials are people who are extremely knowledgeable about the game, highly motivated to make good calls, and above all desirous of seeing a good game well and properly played. Do officials ever make mistakes? Of course. But darned few, as a matter of fact. Is one official likely to call a "tighter" game than another? Indeed. But they are not bad officials (those are weeded out long before we get to the Sweet Sixteen, or to March Madness, for that matter.)
And there is another thing that has changed. During the years of my fandom, the referee was both the instant and final arbiter on the court. One may disagree with him, but the game is played by the call he made. As it should be. Stop the nonsense.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.