Signs of Times
Recently at work we have been predicting the final scores for upcoming college games for pride. I have been the closest two weeks running, but I have to say that the obsession around predicting a sports outcome is about as stupid as predicting when end of the world is going to happen. While there might be signs of the times: earthquakes, fires, hurricanes, wars, etc., no one really knows when the end of the world will happen. A total solar eclipse is crazy cool right, but that doesn’t signal an exact date when we are all going to consumed by the earth. The gravity of getting a final score right doesn’t have the same weight as the end of the world.
We can make “educated guesses” about a game, but that is what they really are, guesses. There are statistical models that get us really close for sports prediction, but they are not fail proof. Look at UNLV v Howard. Or how about every year with one of the following programs: Notre Dame, Texas, Tennessee, etc.
*THIS IS THE YEAR FOR ____Insert any of the teams I just listed above____. *
I mean, right after this season ends some journalist will rank the top 25 FBS programs and its gobbled up! Readers just suck up this garbage over and over. Week 1 we anoint who will win the whole thing and rank teams with minimal sample sets. Its absurd.
Who ya got???
(Side bar – If you use more than one question mark to a question you have in a written form, you better be just joshing or you are a jerk.) I listen to sports radio and the hosts always ask their expert guests (former players, former coaches, the radio host of another station, the play-by-play person for the opposing team, a famous celebrity, their brother, whoever…) for their predictions for a big game, for the season, for a player, whatever. The hosts will always give their prediction. Then hosts have callers give their predictions. It’s a madness obsession.
We want to be right so badly! We predict the exact score, who is going to be the difference maker, what the coach will wear, what is going to happen on the first drive. The more specific the better! And even better, there are men and women who are paid to predict the outcomes of these games. Mind blowing. I am not saying it isn’t fun or entertaining. I enjoy it. I mean, fantasy football is all about predicting what will happen… just like gambling. It can be financially impactful.
The guy pictured is Nostradamus. He predicted a lot of stuff about the future way back when they painted photography (1500’s). His predictions were so loose that he got some “right” and there is no statute of limitation…
The genius of Nostradamus is that thousands of years later we are still talking about him. Our obsession and the enjoyment from predicting games is not a new phenomena. Humans want to control and understand the world in a clean framework, something that is predictable and controllable. We hate to not know what is going to happen.
If we can link some kind of sense to a world of madness it makes us feel better.
I will keep making sport predictions, but its pretty stupid. Just look at some of the modern day Nostradamuses…
— Update after writing this blog post —
LOOK. I wrote this mostly cause I saw all of these crazy twitter predictions for Week 2 of the NCAAF. It drove me nuts. I almost replied to each and everyone and just call people idiots, but that wouldn’t have been (a) nice, (b) good use of my time, and (c) I am not an expert. So I will walk this post back a bit….
It is fun to predict the future. I don’t want to be a fun hater. Listen to the experts, they are right more than half the time. The rest of us? We literally don’t know what we are talking about.