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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Thermodynamics Of Sports

Yahoo News:

''If you look at it realistically, Tiger's probably got another 10 years of top golf,'' Nicklaus said. ''That's 40 majors. Can he win five of them? I think he probably will.''
That's been his standard reply. More relevant is the record book.
Hogan is the only player to win five majors after his 38th birthday - the number Woods needs for the record. Nicklaus and Old Tom Morris after the only others to win as many as four after the age that Woods will turn on Dec. 30. Also consider: Gene Sarazen is the only player to win as many as four more majors after a major-less streak as long as Woods'...
I do not think I will ever understand sports writing.
This presentation of statistics merely does two things:
(1) it parades a knowledge of golf history, and
(2) it asserts that the probabilities are against Mr. Woods.

The glory of Sports is its freedom and its ability to deny entropy, its ability to break the second law of thermodynamics, for every state of sports can be perfectly reversible: the under-dog may win, the mighty may fall. Sports escapes the rigidity of Ballet, where the Mouse King will always be defeated by the Nutcracker, year after year, Christmas season following Christmas season.

Even though the writer cites a limited number of names in each category of accomplishment, thereby implying low probability of achievement by Mr. Woods - or any one person in a similar situation, the mere fact that there are such attainments in reality accomplished by competent, but not supremely competent, golfers indicates that the probability is finite and small, but not vanishingly small.

Now, having said this, the NFL football Detroit Lions are another matter entirely, and they do seem to have achieved maximum entropy, and they can sink no lower nor ever rise higher... a sort of "heat death" of the universe of the franchise.


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