Saturday, March 26, 2011

Jarndyce v.Jarndyce on Ice

There's no good way to lose an NCAA tournament game, but after yesterday, we know what's the worst way possible -- by other people watching television.

There won't be any highlights of the actual end of the Michigan-University of Nebraska-Omaha (UNO) first round hockey game because it ended when the officials stopped looking at a previous highlight. A potential game-winning overtime goal by Michigan was first disallowed in real time, then, at the first stoppage of play, was subjected to video review as is the rule.

The electronic appellate process found for Michigan. The goal counted. Game over. The review only took ten minutes. Were they using film that had to be developed at a nearby drugstore?

Hard cases make bad law. The review took so long because the officials really, really, really didn't want to be wrong, and who can blame them? However, it must be noted that if it take so damn long to decide if a goal is a goal by watching video, then perhaps the spirit of all instant replay rules that ties go to the original real-time call should have guided the refs' decision.

That's not the point of this post. How can anyone read, see or hear about the conclusion of this game and not instantly identify with the horrible psychological ordeal the UNO team went through during that ten-minutes of nothingness. I'm sure the experience was unpleasant for the Michigan crew as well (it couldn't have been a picnic for the broadcasters, come to think of it), but their worst case scenario was a tie. UNO stood around praying for a tie. They were on tournament death row WATCHING the governor read their appeal.

For the UNO kids with eligibility remaining, there's the consolation of knowing their sport has nothing more stressful and depressing to over. For those whose hockey careers are over, I think the decent thing to do would be for the athletic department to find them places on the rosters of the spring sports teams. Elimination by replay should be nobody's last athletic memory.


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