Friday, September 23, 2011

Completely Off Topic Post for a Friday

I've never cared for basketball much. To me it is simply: "go up the court and shoot a basket, go down the court and shoot a basket, go up the court and shoot a basket...". Any game where each team scores 40, 50 or 60 times a game is too much [*]. And the fact that it is intelligent play to intentionally foul the other player at the end of the game puts me over the top. If it is "smart" to break the rules, then something is seriously wrong and needs to be changed. But now I have an extra argument against basketball - it's all statistical. Researchers have found that scoring in a game can be modeled as a random walk. Two thoughts on that: Yea! it's a random walk, so I can reach and say that this is in some weak way ties into polymer and rheology (since polymer configurations are modeled with random walks) and two, this is exactly what I would expect when you score 40, 50 or 60 times a game (wait, I already said that). From the conclusions:
"Thus seen through the lens of the theoretical physicist, basketball is merely a random walk (albeit in continuous time and with some additional subtleties) so that all of the observable consequences of the game that are of interest to the quantitative scientist follow from this random-walk description."
The botom line: If I'm going to look at a random walk, then I'm going to look at some polymer modeling research instead.

[*] Soccer (football to non-US based readers) [**] is quite the opposite - not enough scoring. What I really like is lacrosse - about 10 scores a game for a team, fast paced and a wide open field. Basically it's a mix of hockey and soccer, but the result has an unexpected synergy.

[**] Since Brits seem to get so upset with Americans calling the game "soccer", could one of them explain to my why the British journal publisher Taylor & Francis publishes a journal entitled "Soccer and Society"? Please?


Neil said...

This Brit doesn't get annoyed by the use of 'soccer', because it's a British-English word originally and is aware that it has always been used as a nickname here in Britain for the game - just not it's everyday name.

But I bet the T+F journal name is because it's a terribly weak play on words - Soc and Soc. Rubbish.

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