Where do we Fix our Eyes

28 Feb

As I watch Sports Center and hear about the NFL combine, it is being stated that people, particularly younger people are less inclined to go by the “eye-test” and more inclined to look at the numbers. This is probably even more pronounced in baseball where they even have their own name (Sabermetrician). At first I found it odd that so many people are so fascinated with looking at numbers, but I think I understand it.

First, I am a statistician at heart, and I believe beyond any convincing otherwise that stats will tell the truer story than the eye test. I do think that which has been proven and played out over time is much more likely to indicate what will happen in the future than what I see and think that means.

On the other hand, I can’t fathom anyone becoming a fan of any sport simply by reading about it and gathering stats. What makes us fall in love with sports is the thrill of watching the spectacular. The amazing things that happen in a game. The spectacular, unable to duplicate things that stats could never predict are the reason we watch. We watch because we might see something amazing. I think that’s what it’s all about.

So, if this phenomena of watching the games is the thing that brings us into the game, how can we be so seduced into watching the numbers without really giving the eye test any real credence? I have started to really question this. If the very reason we watch is precisely contrary to what we end up doing to evaluate the game, why even bother with the game to begin with?

In fact, I was so fascinated wit it that I decided to study some stats while “watching” a movie with my wife. I realized that in public places, like the airport, people rarely talk to those around them, in favor of their smart phone. I realized it wasn’t a sports thing. It is that we culturally do not pay attention or give eye contact to those around us. We are never content to merely do one thing, but constant distraction has become the thing we crave.

I thought about making a point about this being the core of why radio shows are becoming a big part of television programming. It suits our sensibilities to not have to watch and yet, still get the gist of what’s happening. At some point, I fear we should fix our eyes on what we’re actually doing and return to a world where eye contact and enjoying what you watch are actually important. And I’d do it with this Sports Center, if I could just finish this blog.

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