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Jeff Kaley

The Duncan Banner

While cruising through the universe trying to regulate the pace of surging technology, 21st Century Technoman enjoys visiting the World of Perspiring Arts.

Many of you are aware of Technoman’s life-long affinity for sports and his history — somewhat dubious at times — of having been a sports writer in a previous life. Seems Technoman always has one foot in the Real World and one foot in the World of Perspiring Arts.

And in search of balance between human capacity and the relentless march of technology, Technoman finds that the past decade — fondly referred to as “The Naughts” — has been a time of techno-growth in sports. As it is in the Real World, some of the technology in the World of Perspiring Arts during “The Naughts” has had a positive impact, while some has been techno-detrimental.

As an example of the latter, there’s little doubt technology tied to performance-enhancing drugs (PED) took a problem that’s been around quite a while and turned it into a scourge.

In this decade, performance enhancers have tainted sports like baseball and bicycle racing to the point it’s difficult to take them seriously anymore. Reports of athletes failing drug tests appear regularly in the media, and although people in leadership roles are trying to stem PED use, in their heart of hearts, they know it’s a losing game.

As the pursuit of success, fortune and fame pushes athletes to do anything to gain an edge and their handlers have weak resistance to cheating, the PED cat-and-mouse charade will continue through “The Naughts” and into “The 20teens.”

In fact, in the years ahead, PED technology will become an even more cynical factor. As Technoman speaks, new performance-enhancers that are more difficult to track are being developed, and scientists working with genetics are studying ways to produce super-athletes through DNA manipulation.

Then there’s the technology of how we watch athletic events.

Technoman is well aware of the impact TV has on sports, and the Internet and other technologies are definitely laying out a braver new World of Perspiring Arts.

When TV first superimposed the first-down line onto the field of an NFL or college football game, it seemed really cool, but it’s already become passe. Cable Cam and other brands of suspended TV cameras provide new angles from which to view several sports, but even that’s becoming old news.

NBC has unveiled a techno-format called Sunday Night Football Extra that allows you stream a game broadcast on your computer, while at the same time watching four extra online-only views of other things going on in the game, on the sidelines or in the stands.

But before the “new” has been blown off that concept, here comes another leap in technology. Technoman has learned that high-definition TV as a way to peek in on the World of Perspiring Arts will be a thing of the past in “The 20teens.”

They’re launching a 3D sports satellite TV channel in England in 2010, with the idea of bringing soccer to life. If this technology pans out and the 3D broadcasts are more crisp than most of the 3D movies you pay $10 to watch at a theater, imagine what the concept will do with the NFL, college football, the NBA, the NHL, et cetera.

Will anyone want to go to a live sports event again?

Think about it: If you can watch the action in 3D from the comfort of the living room, will you still be inclined to go to a stadium and spend $100 for a ticket, $8 for a hot dog and $10 for a beer, and end up with such a bad seat that you spend most of the game watching plays on a Jumbotron?

In a way, the idea of boarding up the mega-stadiums that pro sports owners and colleges have spent kazillions building — often with funds coerced from the public — has some symmetry.

But from Techoman’s perspective, if we’re headed toward a World of Perspiring Arts in which everyone stays home and watches a computer or a 3D image, then technology is once again stripping us of the communality of gathering together; of rubbing elbows with another human being, of looking someone straight in the eye and reaffirming our humanity.

As you might expect, 21st Century Technoman thinks that’s a bad thing, whether in the Real World or in the World of Perspiring Arts.

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