Thursday, January 23, 2014

Failure to Launch

     Growing up, my life revolved around sports! I love to get together with a bunch of friends and just play a pickup game of soccer, or chill on the couch with my family and watch College Football Saturday. Earlier this year I was introduced to the field of sport analytics, and have been interested ever since. I have really considered going into this line of work, just the only problem is that most sports, other than baseball, don't seem to have a very advanced program. I was scrolling through Facebook one night when I came across a Grantland video about a Coach Kelly from Arkansas who always goes for it on 4th down and never punts!

I was immediately intrigued because this seemed like the kind of work I could potentially be interested in doing! I decided I wanted to try to coordinate some sort of project for my stats class around this idea. I came to class the next Monday totally excited to see what I could dig up. I began by reading, "Do Firms Maximize, Evidence From Professional Football" to get a better idea of how stats was being applied to the game of football. The article talked about point possibilities in regards to field position, so I decided to research that more to see if that would give me any project ideas! I found the graph below:

This was a really cool graph, and I found myself concentrating on this when I was watching football the following Saturday. Then it hit me. I wanted to do something like this with my favorite football team, the Nebraska Cornhuskers..........but SOO much for one girl to do by herself! I realized I did not have a very good understanding about how to work with the team stats that I didn't have.

In the end, I know I made the right decision to not spend anymore time trying to make up a project about something I didn't have enough time or information to do. I am disappointed I was unable to do more with my findings and felt like I failed, but luckily there was another girl in my class that was interested in doing something sports related as well. We ended up doing a project on Player/Team Efficiency for the Girls Basketball Team that gave me the chance to work on something that might be similar to what I hope to do in the future. Mr. Pethan always says failure in stats is a GOOD thing! You always learn from failure, and now I know that by going through this process, in the future I won't spend as much time contemplating what I want to do. Now I know that if I spend more than a couple days trying to pull something together, it probably won't be a good project in the end, but there are always other things for me to do!

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