Unwritten Rules

A while ago, a baseball player coworker and I had a conversation about the unwritten rules of baseball. These are expected sportsmanship behaviors. When players are perceived to violate these moral guidelines, the other team may result in retaliation. Teams can end up in brawls on the field over the escalations started by someone violating an unwritten rule.

Apparently I left the impression that baseball is the only sport with unwritten rules. He sent me the unwritten rules of the gym.

Soccer has them too. In futbol (soccer),

  1. If a player is injured, then the other team should put the ball out of play or give the ball back to the team with the injured player when it restarts.
  2. Players who score against a former team return to the center circle to restart without celebrating.
  3. Offer a hand to help an opponent stand up.

There are unwritten rules everywhere. And we are expected to abide by these social conventions or we are jerks who deserve to be snubbed or attacked for failing to be a decent person. This like…

  1. Let others out of an elevator or train before you get in.
  2. Leave a one urinal buffer zone.
  3. Texting in the presence of company.

The problem I have with unwritten rules is the passive-aggressive escalation and retaliation aspect. Rules exist to set the expectations of behavior. Writing them down ensures everyone knows what are the expectations of behavior. The authorities (referee, police, HR) can punish people for failing to abide by them. Leaving them unwritten just means one party can take advantage and the aggrieved party breaking written rules in retaliation to feel even more upset they got unjustly punished.

1996 Olympics

445289440_4d226f2576Twenty years ago I was able to watch some soccer Olympic events in person. We watched the first women’s tournament where the US played Sweden. And Nigeria (who eventually won) play Japan. These were all at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. It made me happy two teams we watched went on to win both the men’s and women’s tournaments.

Also, we drove from Orlando to Atlanta and back. While in Atlanta we watched some Judo and volleyball.

Hands on Their Hips

Over the past couple months during football or football[1] games, I noticed announcers refer to defensive players already having hands on their hips. They mean the defensive players are already tired and out of breath, so breathing more heavily than they should. Also, the players are ready to be broken by the offensive players.

So, I was curious. Is this a universal behavior? The lazy person that I am, instead of running a bunch and seeing whether or not I did it over and over, I queried Google. An interesting answer to, “When we get out of breath, why do we put our hands on our hips?” kind of made sense:

When you do so, it takes the weight of your arms off your lungs, which allows them to get more air into them and increase the oxygen to your body.

[1] For United States readers: soccer or American Football.

An All Year Sport

TBS - Soccer Some of my sports fan friends are a single game fan.When the season is over, they have nothing else about which to talk until recruits are chosen for the next. Over the past week, I saw a couple countdowns for certain baseball players to report to spring training. Since October they waited for this. Football, basketball, and hockey do not cut it for them.

Something I like about soccer, football elsewhere in the world, is there is something going on all year round. The two leagues I mainly follow are:

  • English Premier League starts mid August and ends mid May
  • Major League Soccer starts mid March and ends early December

Then there are the various special events like the World Cup, Champions League, Euro, CONCACAF, and FA Cup to name a few.

There is always something happening. No time to catch a breath.

Better Circles and Lists

Last week I blogged about Facebook Lists and Google Circles being similar concepts so nothing Earth shattering.

The problem with is both reliability and validity. The imperfection of human recall and recognition means both Lists and Circles have glaring obvious holes in establishing the correct connections. As users increase the size of their social networks, the problem just gets worse as errors accumulate and the effort at resolving them becomes more daunting. At this point, most people of which I am friends with on Facebook after 2009 are not in a list. Those who are probably are not in all for which they qualify. Google+ probably will end up in a similar condition in a year or two.

Wedding

The girlfriend of friend of my brother added me on Facebook to see wedding photos and tag herself in them. I happened to take of her and her boyfriend dancing and tagged him. The photos are in my Weddings album where family and my brother’s halo list could see the photos. She still could not see the photos until I realized my mistake and added her to the halo list.

Klinsmann Excitement

A friend had a great Google+ post about Klinsmann’s hired as the US soccer coach. It is the kind of thing where I probably want to post to friends who like the game and no one else. It is easy to pick out who hold certain roles. Correctly recalling who have specific interests seems much more daunting.

What I would like to see are recommendations about my potential connections based on mutual properties, interests, and connections. We already are asked to name our work places, education, interests, and location. People who are connected probably belong in the same group. The things we post probably are already being analyzed to determine how to advertise to us. Use that information to help us better identify who will be interested in what we share.

Obviously, no one should completely rely on recommendations any more than the recommendations of whom to befriend or instructions suggesting one drive a car into a lake. Okay… Maybe those who completely rely on technology to tell them what to do deserve the consequences.

2010 Resolution Reading List

I recently completed my first resolution for the year 2009: Read 12,000 pages. pp

Check the Reading page for the master list.

Titles in bold are the ones I recommend. (They also are probably the ones I quote the most.)

  1. Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in SpaceCarl Sagan – 368 pp (368 total)
  2. Deal with Your Debt: The Right Way to Manage Your Bills and Pay Off What You Owe Liz Pulliam Weston – 210 est pp (57324+8 total)
  3. Some Answered Questions – Abdu’l-Bahá – 314 pp (892 total)
  4. Promised Day is Come – Shoghí Effendí Rabbání – 208 pp (1,100 total)
  5. The Last Days of Socrates – PlatoHugh Tredennick (Translator), Harold Tarrant (Contributor) – 289 pp (1,389 total)
  6. The Trial of Socrates – Isidor F. Stone – 273 pp (1,662 total)
  7. The HistoriesHerodotus – 720 pp (2,382 total)
  8. Libraries in the Ancient World – Lionel Casson – 173 pp (2,555 total)
  9. Mapping Human History: Genes, Race, and Our Common OriginsSteve Olson – 278 pp (2,833 total)
  10. Why Smart People Do Dumb Things – Mortimer FeinbergJohn Tarrant – 265 pp (3,098 total)
  11. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood Howard PyleScott McKowen (Illustrator) – 328 pp (3,426 total)
  12. The Seven Mysteries of Life Guy Murchie – est 661 pp (4,087 total)
  13. Why We Make Mistakes: How We Look Without Seeing, Forget Things in Seconds, and Are All Pretty Sure We Are Way Above AverageJoseph Hallinan – 304 pp (4,391 total)
  14. NextCrichton, Michael – 431 pp (4,822 total)
  15. The Ball is Round: A Global History of SoccerGoldblatt, David – 992 pp (5,814 total)
  16. A Wrinkle in Time (Time Series, #1)L’Engle, Madeleine – 224 pp (6,038 total) — for Not Your Oprah’s Book Club
  17. Ender’s GameCard, Orson Scott – 324 pp (6,362 total) — for Not Your Oprah’s Book Club
  18. Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the WorldAhamed, Liaquat – 576 pp (est 6,938 total)
  19. Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our LivesSpecter, Michael – 304 pp (est 7,242 total)
  20. Tribes: We Need You to Lead UsGodin, Seth – 160 pp (est 7,402 total)
  21. Foundation (Foundation, #1)Asimov, Isaac – 256 pp (est 7,658 total)
  22. First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do DifferentlyBuckingham, Marcus – 255 pp (est 7,913 total)
  23. Snow CrashStephenson, Neal – 470 pp (est 8,383 total)
  24. Ender’s Shadow (Shadow Series, #1)Card, Orson Scott – 469 pp (est 8,852 total)
  25. The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our BrainsCarr, Nicholas G. – 256 pp (9,108 total)
  26. The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the NationWesten, Drew – 384 pp (9,492 total)
  27. Happiness: Lessons from a New ScienceLayard, Richard – 320 pp (9,812 total)
  28. Speaker for the Dead (Ender’s Saga, #2)Card, Orson Scott – 382 pp (10,194 total)
  29. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other StoriesStevenson, Robert Louis – 304 pp (10,498 total)for Not Your Oprah’s Book Club
  30. Hyperion (Hyperion, #1)Simmons, Dan – 482 pp (10,980 0total)
  31. Parallel Play: Growing Up with Undiagnosed Asperger’sPage, Tim – 208 pp (11,188 total)
  32. Xenocide (Ender’s Saga, #3)Card, Orson Scott – 520 read of 592 pp (11,780 total)
  33. Something BorrowedEmily Giffin – 322 pp (12,102 total) — for Not Your Oprah’s Book Club
  34. Treasure IslandStevenson, Robert Louis – 352 pp (12,454 total)
  35. The Sunday Philosophy Club (Sunday Philosophy Club, #1)Alexander McCall Smith – 250 pp (12,704 total) — for Not Your Oprah’s Book Club
  36. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values – Pirsig, Robert M. – 560 pp (est 13,264 total)

Plus Size Soccer Jerseys

Some things are easy to buy online. A few times in the past month I’ve gone looking for a soccer jersey for any of the many football (soccer to my fellow Americans) team I follow. Three futile hours later, I am considering changing which football I follow since stores can carry appropriately sized apparel for it. I’m someone who wears a fairly rare to find size of 3XLT. (Or 4XL when tall is not an option. Or sometimes 3XL for teeshirts, but that usually means exposed back when I sit.)

It annoys me to find a design I like for a reasonable price only to discover there is no size available to me. In bricks and mortar stores, it means never returning until I hear they have a “Big and Tall” section hidden somewhere not obvious.

Here is a place where the Long Tail falls down. According to it, online stores, with their enormous warehouses can better afford to carry a more broad selection of less frequently selling items. They give us more choice. Therefore, it means I ought to find more choice online. For things not in my size, this is true. There is tons of choice. The same stores in a mall who carry clothing in the right sizes seem perfectly capable of offering a wider selection. Yet, an online store like Amazon can’t make it easy for me to find clothing that fits?

My main beef with Worldsoccershop.com is the lack of product in a size I can wear. (The one jersey would make me a Chelsea supporter.) They do get a couple things right.

  1. Quality search: I can put 4xl in the search and get back items with a size of 4xl. All these sites have a search. However, for many sites, size doesn’t appear to be a relevant word. The term “4XL” lands items with “XL” in the name. Useless!
  2. Narrow results by size: Brand, price, and seller are options Amazon offers for narrowing the search to more useful options. How is size not important enough to include? Useless!

Ultimately, I guess not enough people my size have enough interest in soccer jerseys. They end up American football or basketball or baseball fans which have clothes large enough for me. Maybe I should switch sports allegiances? It would help my political allegiances.

CORFing

I wonder how many Americans became soccer fans after the upset tie with England? It seemed like the furor over the Slovenia tie became more conversational than I expected. After the amazing win over Algeria, even more people wanted to talk about the World Cup. Well, the loss to Ghana didn’t sustain the conversation. May Instant Soccer Fan? Why? can explain it.

CORFing stands for Cutting Off of Reflective Failure, and it basically means that people, like my friends, attach to a team when they are winning and dissociate from teams when they are losing. Visek says if you ask a soccer fan how the U.S. soccer team did after a win, you’re likely to hear a “we won” response. But, if the U.S. team loses their next match, most people will subconsciously dissociate from the team with a “they lost” response.

Well, we did lose the game. I hope we won more interest in the game.