Long Live Mistakes

Without making a mistake it's impossible to achieve anything, it's impossible to get anywhere in any field.

As everyone knows, mistakes are part of life. But mistakes are not merely mistakes. They don't just happen, for no reason and without any objective. A mistake, the concept of a mistake, has a place in this world and has significance.

Without making a mistake it's impossible to achieve anything, it's impossible to get anywhere in any field. Neither in science nor in love, neither in peace nor in war, neither in banking nor in policymaking. All progress stems from mistakes.

The mistake is the mother of invention and of progress. The mistake was created and exists so that it will be possible to learn lessons from it and to get ahead in life, and not, as some people mistakenly believe, so that it will be possible to establish committees and to hold on to seats.

And the mistake has other functions. How did you meet your partner if not when you mistakenly entered a ceramics class instead of a criminology class? And where did you eat the best meal of your life, if not when you arrived, due to an error in navigation or pronunciation, at Sarron le Douze instead of Serbon le Souze?

Yet, we're ganging up on it, the mistake, to destroy it. As though it's even possible to destroy it.

Big shots, journalists and pseudo-experts have gotten together, and ostensibly in the name of progress, are planning to get rid of one of the most wonderful mistakes on earth. I'm talking about a mistake in judgment, not necessarily a common one, in soccer: when the referees are unable to tell whether the ball did or did not cross the goal line completely. When they cannot be sure whether or not there was a goal, and so they must decide, as they do, in a split second, one way or another. And then alas, it turns out, in a post-play analysis of slow-motion films from 37 angles, that what they decided had happened actually did happen. Or didn't. A scandal.

That's why, in order to prevent such mistakes in the future, God forbid, some are calling for the installation of an electronic chip into the soccer ball that will beep or flash if the ball crossed the line completely.

But wait a minute: What's wrong with a scandal, a bitter dispute, passionate arguments and even an eternal unsolved dilemma? After all, soccer is a parable of life. And life, after all, is full of unsolved arguments and eternal insoluble dilemmas. Have we managed to resolve the centuries-long dispute between the two dominant rabbinical schools of thought - the House of Hillel of the House of Shammai? No. Yet we're worried about making sure we get the right call - the perfect call - for every goal?

And what's the insistence on fixing this particular mistake, of all things? Let's say that the chip decides that the ball crossed completely. But was the player who kicked the ball offside or wasn't he? And before that, was there really a foul, or wasn't there? Soccer doesn't deal with the question of "it did or didn't cross the line." Soccer isn't tennis. Soccer, just like life, is an ongoing, complicated, multifaceted and complex process. And that's why insisting on presumably fixing, in the name of "progress," one particular mistake of the many potential mistakes involved in a complex process such as life, is simply foolishness.

Not to mention the principle of equality that this chip is about to violate. After all, will there be such a chip in every ball in every soccer game in the world, or only in rich and prestigious leagues. What about the derby in Petah Tikva? Will there really be one electronic rule for the rich and another, human one, for the poor?

More importantly, in soccer, the fans are sovereign. Mistakes in judgment, like the players' mistakes, leave sovereignty over endless debates in the hands of the fans. The electronic chip is about to rob us of our sovereignty. Therefore we should all blow the whistle in unison: Death to chips! Long live mistakes!