We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The underrated benefit of watching lots of sports

“Sports is remarkably cognitive. I think it’s underrated just how smart it is. Actually, if I had more time, I would spend more time with sports. Watching it, reading about it, I think it’s oddly underrated.”

- Tyler Cowen, being interviewed about himself and his interest in things such as where and how to find good, tasty food. As to his remark on sports, I guess that one of the benefits of watching it – say if you are into baseball or cricket – is improving your basic maths. It does not surprise me that Samizdata’s Michael Jennings is a PhD in maths and a cricket fanatic.

One of my favourite books is this one, Creative Destruction, which Cowen published a few years ago now.

5 comments to The underrated benefit of watching lots of sports

  • It’s also not unknown for me to be found seeking out interesting and inexpensive ethnic food in such places as suburban strip malls in foreign countries, too. Cowen is definitely a fun guy.

  • Steven

    I’d buy the basic premise the sports are good for learning math if most fans were into the statistical stats end of the games. Sadly, most of the fanbase is in it for some perceived notion of local pride, or because the team represent their alma mater, or because it is an excuse to dress up in silly clothes and get drunk.

  • RAB

    Well I suppose it depends on whether you’re watching or playing sports that the Maths comes in. For my part, being our school team’s opening batsman, I was keeping my eye on the ball and bashing it all over the ground rather than wondering about my batting average this season. The score was being kept by the kid in the pavillion. All I wanted to do was win the game.

    Darts now, hardly a sport really, but if you can’t count, well it puts you at a great disadvantage for a finishing double doesn’t it? Similarly Snooker.

  • veryretired

    Most people’s lives are pretty dull—they go through their workday performing fairly routine tasks, do routine chores, and have routine conversations.

    Then they can get together and talk sports, have big vehement arguments, watch a game they like and see exciting plays and suspenseful countdowns, etc.

    Compared to what they are used to, its refreshig, especially if they bet on the outcome.

    In a certain sense, I suppose a lot of the recent fixation on reality shows and big competetive singing or dancing contests is related to that same impulse.

    People like cheering on their heroes and booing at their villains. Its primal, much like clan identity or primitive territoriality.

    But math? I’d hate to teach a kid to count playing tennis…

  • Mose Jefferson

    My rabid support for my Oregon State Beavers and the Navy Midshipmen is partly due to the reasons Steven mentions above.

    But, like a few other good sports, (American) Football is a long game of dynamic strategery. To sacrifice a first down attempt and punt for better field position, thus placing trust in your defensive line. To adjust the offensive line to cover for the other teams blindingly fast weakside outside linebacker who keeps getting the sack, or to adjust the defensive line by pulling off a linebacker in lieu of a specialty defensive back to cover the offensive teams aggressive passing strategy. Come-from-behind victorys are routine (or come-from-ahead defeat, in the case of my Beavers at the damn Alamo Bowl last week). Football is a rattlingly tense game of battlefield strategy, and oh so fun at that.

    Also, it’s nice to have a friendly sports rivalry. Sometimes the energy just isn’t their for a good healthy abortion discussion.

    Anyways, enjoy the London Rams next year, my beloved Brits!