Many people are aware that sports have to innovate to become more palatable to new markets and even to survive. Cricket has a long tradition of such innovation, way before WSC changed everything from the timing of the games to the colour of the ball and much more in between, innovation was commonplace. T20 is an extension of this which, given the exponential success of the Big Bash League this summer seems to have found a place in the hearts of many cricket fans. But it is more than this, the bats are a long way from the slabs of dead willow of yesteryear, protective gear is no longer a box, a pair of wicker pads and green rubber spiked gloves and even the bails now light up when disturbed!
The flannelled fools are far from alone however with every sport male and female innovating. In golf, hackers like you and I are now able to belt a tiny white ball (itself the product on long term technological advancement) the length of an English country lane and far straighter simply because club technology is so futuristic. F1 drivers rarely crash, in the pursuit of their speedy goals thanks to constant development and kids can now catch footballs in the rain as the ball is more like an octopus’s tentacle than a slippery bar of leathery soap.
But for every person lauding new rules or NASA led equipment development there is another lamenting the passing of an apparent golden age. Funnily enough the glass half empties are usually the same people whose golf game has improved out of sight when they bought a new driver, who can now serve a tennis ball at the speed of light and who power walk in lighter than air running shoes rather than a trusted pair of Dunlop Volleys!
But sometimes you have to come back to basics, the core, the real essence of the sport. This is where rugby league is heading with some really vital changes to the game put in place recently. Less time wasting, captain’s not allowed to question the ref’s, fullbacks running the ball back and quick taps go to show that sometimes the best innovations are those staring you right in the face!