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Sunday, November 04, 2018

Perfection, athletic skills, and sports

This Deadpsin piece defends the scoring system in gymnastics, under which Simon Biles won the all-around despite falling in two events (her routines have such a higher degree of difficulty than everyone else that even large point deductions for falls do not bring her back to the pack.

The piece includes the following:

Gymnastics is is an aesthetic, performance-based sport. As such, its ideas of winning and perfection are deeply intertwined. The history of the sport suggest that victory and perfection often go hand in hand, and that you can’t have the former without the latter.

Ideas about “perfection” exist in other sports too. There is such a thing as a perfect game in baseball, and they are always the same—a pitcher faces 27 batters and gets them all out in order. Football’s quarterback ratings are notably, ridiculous obscure, but an upper boundary exists and a few dozen quarterbacks have hit it over the years. Perfection is as rare in those disciplines as it is anywhere else. It’s special, but by no means a guarantee of victory. A pitcher can be perfect through nine and watch his bullpen blow it in the tenth; a quarterback putting up a perfect 158.3 has given his team a chance to win, but only a chance.

This captures my line between sport and non-sport. Performing skills perfectly or well is intertwined with victory in non-sports, because victory is determined by a judgment on the internal value and quality of those skills. Victory in sport is extrinsic, determined by the outcome of the performance of the skills and not by the skills themselves. This is true not only for the aesthetic quality of the skill (how nice the jump shot looks or how hard the pitcher throws), but the overall performance of those skills, which still may not produce victory.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on November 4, 2018 at 09:31 AM in Howard Wasserman, Sports | Permalink


Just correction to my comment :

Should be " the peaks " and not the " pikcs " of course .

Apologizing ....

Posted by: El roam | Nov 7, 2018 3:27:31 AM

Very interesting . But , I don't see here , any substantial issue ( not philosophically , but , in that particular case ) :

The competition was all around one . So , the score consists of integration of multi exercises . Now :

To fall , each girl in fact can fall , but , to reach the picks of performances , she has reached ( in integral terms ) not every girl could match it. As such , the falls ( even if two ) don't change much .

As well concerning the argument raised in that post :

It wasn't the skills , but , the performances or ,carrying it out , which brought the victory . It is just , that the overall performance , integrated as such , has yielded the victory .


Posted by: El roam | Nov 4, 2018 10:49:08 AM

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