Bad Tech: When gadgets ruin sport

Gadgets and sport don't always mix well. Sure, there's plenty of game-changing sports tech out there, but frankly, we could do without some of it...

Gadgetry may be a boon in many arenas, but when allied with the sporting world it can be more off-putting than an officious ref with an out-of-date glasses prescription. Allow us to present the Joey Bartons of tech, marring our fun at every two-footed turn…

 

Pundits with massive tablets

 

“Let me just take you through that goal… If I just click and drag Nani back to here… bear with me… and if I circle Ryan Giggs here, now, watch the positioning of Ferdinand as the ball comes back into play, and especially keep an eye on Rooney’s run towards the edge of the six-yard box…” With the air of a man trying to show you his holiday snaps on his phone (“Now, you’ll like this, it’s a neat feature, hang on…”) Chris Kamara prods away on a giant screen for what feels like 15 minutes, before pressing a button to show players running around with giant streaks of white crayon spewing from their rears. Even Andy Gray’s ruggedly masculine, no-nonsense Subbuteo table was preferable, if we’re honest.

 

Advertising intrusion

From ITV “accidentally” showing a Hyundai advert while England scored one of its three (three!) goals in the 2010 World Cup – we’ll make the observation that there’s a lot of Scots working at ITV and leave it at that – to Sky showing ads for such day-time staples as easy-access baths, life insurance for the elderly and Werther’s Originals after seemingly every over of the cricket. Unwanted ads are the TV equivalent of cold sores.

 

Microphones everywhere

Imagine being at work, feet up on the desk, enquiring of a colleague as to whether he’s “smashed it” of late. No, you can’t imagine that can you? Nobody actually talks like that other than Richard Keys. However, although it’s hard to be overly sympathetic towards the secret werewolf and wannabe Jack-the-lad, we’re pretty sure we wouldn’t want to work in an office where our every utterance was being recorded for posterity. See also: stump mics and the ones placed around football pitches, tennis courts and in F1 car cockpits, which reveal even our most Olympian heroes as ineloquent, foul-mouthed, sulking divs.

 

Red button blues

We bet that, like us, when you’re watching sport and want to see some stats or analysis or find out what’s happening in some other sport, you’ll remove your phone from the cradle of your crotch and look on its browser. Why? Because pressing the red button means having your screen freeze on a loading page for so long, you miss the entire fourth set of the Wimbledon men’s final. Like Tim Henman, the red button promised so much for years, delivered so very, very little and then faded from our lives like an old flame or Banjo bars. Bring back Teletext, we say…

 

Horrific injuries in full HD

In 1996 Coventry’s David Busst suffered a leg injury against Manchester United that was so horrific, United’s not-overly-sensitive goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel supposedly vomited and Busst never played again. Thankfully, 20 years ago screens were too grainy to see it. Fast forward to 2008 and Arsenal’s Eduardo suffers a similar tackle, breaking his left fibula and suffering an open dislocation of his left ankle. This time we see it live, from multiple angles and from this moment on, in an age of HD and 3D, we watch sport from the edge of our seats holding smelling salts in case we witness something once reserved only for M*A*S*H surgeons and “person under train” clean-up crews.

 

The curse of Live Pause

You’ve made dinner, chilled your beer and emptied your bladder – now let’s see if Lewis Hamilton made it past that tricky first corner in Malaysia… OH NO! YOU’VE PRESSED BACK UP! Live Pause has cancelled and you’ve flung yourself 50 minutes through time, with the extra kick between the legs being that Hamilton parked his car into a wall about seven laps in.

 

Lots of Twitter temper

In the good old days, sports stars would let you know their innermost thoughts by crashing their car into Alain Prost, kung-fu kicking a fan, stamping on Gareth Southgate or breaking Mike Gatting’s nose with a bouncer. These days they demonstrate peevishness by using Twitter, whether to argue with Piers Morgan or issue Churchillian statements such as “Ref woz joke handball my arsse?!!? LOL #muppetz”, or by writing messages on their undergarments – something you can’t get away with in non-sporting professions. Would you go into a planning meeting and refute suggestions you’re not meeting targets by lifting your shirt to reveal an M&S vest with “Why Always Me?” written on it? Oh…

 

3D football in pubs

The more we witness the dwindling group of young men huddled in the special, dark, tiny corner bar of the local boozer, sat with their LG Buddy Holly specs on waiting for the match to start, the more sorry for them we feel – then we move on through to the big screen in the main bar. Is 3D football in pubs now less cool than smoking in a children’s ward? Write your answers on a football and kick it through our office window…

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