I don't like third umpires

I’ve been keeping an eye on the Ashes test this morning, watching Australia take on England in that most time honoured cricketing contest.

Apparently it’s been a while since I watched cricket, because I discovered that the “third umpire” has been introduced to cricket. Each team has the opportunity to object to an umpires decision and ask for it to be reviewed.  The system allows each team two unsuccesful challenges each innings (and presumably an unlimited number of successful challenges).

At face value, it seems reasonable.  We have the technology, and it only holds the game up for a little while, so why not? “Third umpires” and the capacity to challenge have been succesfully introduced in other sports – tennis and rugby league to name a couple, so why not cricket?

Because life isn’t perfect.

We all make mistakes.

Part of the challenge facing us is how we cope in our humanity, how we give expression to our emotions when life doesn’t go as planned.

The ‘third umpire’ sets an impossible standard of perfection, and sets up expectations of sporting officials that cannot possibly be lived up to.  It effectively says to the sports officials “we don’t trust you”.

Life is imperfect, and messy.

Sport is too.  And as a reflection of life, that’s just the way it should be.

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2 thoughts on “I don't like third umpires

  1. It is good to be reminded that we are human – flawed and imperfect and, at the same time, created in the image of God. Which leaves me wondering how does the church, imperfect and flawed as it is, live out the potential of being created in the image of God without buying into the unrealistic expectations of perfectionism? Somewhere in it all I’d like us to discover afresh the practise of graced communal life in which we are willing to let one another make mistakes: to live in the messiness of it all.

  2. But isn’t it better to have an all-seeing, all-knowing Presence to stop our mistakes from having unjust consequences for others, if we but ask Him?

    😉

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