Has the camera phone ruined sports?

Published: Aug. 25, 2015 at 4:03 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 25, 2015 at 1:19 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Camera phones are the worst thing to happen to the sports fan.

Think back to the last time you had a great seat for a sporting event. What's the first thing you did? You took a picture of how great your seat was. You might even have taken a selfie.

In my line of work, we are expected to post photos to different social media sites. For instance, for one of the great moments in horse racing history, American Pharoah's romp in the Belmont Stakes, I was on the rail, on the finish line. One of the best seats in the house. My memory of him crossing the finish line, snapping a 37-year Triple Crown drought, is of reaching way up in the air, over the Goo Goo Dolls, to snap a photo.

Check out the photo on the cover of Sports Illustrated later that week. Everybody has their arms fully extended, phone in hand.

We are a generation more worried about documenting the moment than experiencing it. I say we have some phone-free sporting events.

Sit back, and actually watch the game. Don't check Twitter or Facebook. No emails.

I really think we are losing some of what makes a live sporting event so special. We are so worried about capturing the great picture, that we lose sight of how special it can be just to be in the arena.

This may read like some kind of holier-than-thou speech, but I am just as, maybe more guilty, than anyone.

I have almost 2,000 photos on my phone right now. From the Final Four to the Kentucky Derby to the Quaker State 400. While it's true that I usually have a good seat, it's not always the case. What I can offer is access. However, sometimes taking that picture, or trying to capture that moment, while zooming in on the phone, can actually make you miss much of the very moment you are trying to document.

Think about it the next time you go to a game. At least for a few plays, put the phone away, and do something different for a change: Watch the game.

Maybe the instant need for information will overwhelm you, or just maybe you'll rediscover what it was that brought you to games in the first place.

Kent Taylor is the Sports Director at WAVE 3 News.

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