James Leroy Wilson's blog

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Score That Time Forgot

The field goal was made, and the game clock stopped when the ball sailed passed the uprights. The Cougars had tied the Blue Devils, 27-27. Yet, when play and the game clock resumed, the Cougs were again behind, 27-24, and that became the final score.

This is a not uncommon occurance. The defense had committed a penalty on the field goal. The offense decided to "take the points off the board" to try to score a touchdown instead. In this case, it was a spectacularly foolish move; this is usually done when the penalty results in a first down, but in this case it was a fourth and one. Yes, the Cougs decided to take points off the board to go for it on fourth and one. When those points had tied the game. With six minutes left in the game. Unbelievably bad call.

But that's not really my point. What fascinates me is the concept of a thing actually happening, an event anyone could remember - that the Cougs had tied the game in the 4th quarter. Yet, there was no period of time - as measured by the game clock - when the game was tied; only a moment. A moment that doesn't even exist in the box score. The field goal "never happened" and therefore the Cougs never tied the game, because the down was replayed after the penalty. Yet the field goal was kicked, meaning that the game must have been tied.

The thing exists in human memory. That field goal is objectively real. And yet, the field goal does not register in the statistics. And according to the clock, the game was never tied. Except, it was.

Which just goes to show - real events can and do occur outside of time. It all depends on who keeps the time, and how we interpret what just happened.

UPDATE: I meant "Sun Devils," not "Blue Devils." I didn't just correct it above, as I'm wholly capable of doing, because that violate the spirit of this post: "Didn't he say Blue Devils? I'm pretty sure he said Blue Devils. "Nope. Look it up: it says Sun Devils right there." I unnecessarily elaborate on this principle above.


  1. Were your two posts purposely linked? Because if in fact Jeffrey McDonald were innocent, then his criminal act would exist in no human memory at all. And it would just go to show that fake events can and do occur inside of time. It all depends on who keeps the time, and how we interpret what just didn't happen.

  2. It is too easy to remember something that never happened, even though the field goal happened. Official records are kept, but they are but a brief synopsis of what really happened at the event. History becomes a game of telephone - stories passed down the line and changed to suit either the POV of the teller or the current political view. What to believe, what to believe.

    i used to believe in science until i found that they conveniently ignore fact to keep stolid but erronious points of view. i wonder how much today's business and industry sits on prior innovation and waddles it howdt from time to time to keep the masses happy. Did Maxwell Smart have a cell phone in the 60s?
    But even if the PTB are removed, nobody knows much in the way of what to do wothout the PTB. our energy problem is one of transport and containment, not fuel availability. we have all the energy that can ever be used - a matter of form - not function.

    Freddie Mercury said it best in the BoRep, Is this the real life? Or is this fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality.
    Yet there is another there out there.

  3. Thanks to both of you for your insights. No, Steve, the blog items of the football score and the McDonald case were not purposely linked, at least not by me; they were two things I saw on the same day.

    But it does remind me of another like occurrance in a court of law: when a judge orders that testimony be "stricken from the record." Jurors are supposed to forget something that they watched as if it never happened. This may have some merit from time to time - when counsel or a witness pulls a cheap stunt. But it seems that a judge need only instruct the jury that the judge's opinion was that that part was illegitimate, but pretend that the jury's going to forget it by striking it from the record.