Oct 30, 2006

on the philosophical nature of a basketball

Is it distressing to anyone else that the basic features of most sports--the length of the field or court, the height of the net or hoop, the time on the clock (if any), etc.--are entirely arbitrary?

3 comments:

Murky Thoughts said...

We're arbitrary too. Think of sports rules as evolutionary, selected and in competition with each other for human interest. The dimensions of a basketball court is as sacred as the number of days before God rests in Genesis.

Murky Thoughts said...

I remember now that Stephen Jay Gould talked about the distance from the pitchers mound to the plate in pro baseball and how organizers increased it as batters became more consistent, which kept the results of an at-bat and the batting averages of players as a group as low as ever, meanwhile causing extinction of the 400 hitter. It's in "Full House" I think, although I just heard him talk about it on his tour to promote it and never read the book itself.

Jim Anderson said...

There's an interview with the late great at Mother Jones, discussing that very book (which is an excellent read, I might add).