Netherlands vs. Brazil Possession Visualization

BraNed-700

Following up on the visualization of Brazil/Germany’s semifinal match, I again calculated what I define as “Real Possession” for the Netherlands/Brazil 3rd place match. Go read that post for more on how I define possession or control.

You can see in the image above how the game played out over time in terms of possession. Click here for the high resolution version. You’ll quickly note that Brazil was dominant, holding control for several long periods of time. But that doesn’t mean they always had the ball at their feet. Continue reading

Visualizing Possession in Football

BGP-Vis-700

While watching the Brazil/Germany World Cup semifinal, I was thinking about how possession is calculated. We only see possession as a percentage figure, but that doesn’t provide a very interesting look at how possession changes throughout a match. What would this data look like over time?

I started recording when possession switched from one team to the other by using the “lap” feature on a running stopwatch on my iPhone. At the end of each half I recorded the length of each lap, assigning the even numbered laps to team A, and the odd numbered ones to team B.

But before I get into the results of this data gathering, I should explain my definition of “possession” that I used to determine when I would hit the lap button. For lack of a better term, I’m calling it “Real Possession,” but that’s not to say my version is any more “right” than what the official stats do. Continue reading

Does Rugby Hold the Solution to the NFL’s Extra Point Dilemma?

Rugby Kick

A rugby player prepares a kick quite similar to an NFL extra point.

The NFL has a relatively small dilemma: extra points are too easy. So easy, in fact, that they are converted 99% of the time. Some have advocated to do away with extra points entirely, arguing that they are simply a waste of time. But what if there was a better solution?

The first obvious idea is to move the kick back. Currently, extra points are snapped from the 2 yard line, making them a 20-yard kick — a chip shot, slam dunk for any NFL kicker. But how do we decide how far back is enough?

You could move the ball back 15 yards and still get a success rate of around 90%. If making the play interesting to the fan is the goal, we would have to go further back, but what’s a fair distance? I’d say a 50-yard field goal would make things interesting, and here’s why. Continue reading

Debunking BuzzFeed’s List of “35 Things You Appreciate About America After Living In Europe”

As an American living Europe for nearly 3 years now (wow, has it really been that long already?), my eyebrows raised at the sight of a recent BuzzFeed list of “35 Things You Appreciate About America After Living In Europe.” This is right up my alley, I thought.

Imagine my disappointment upon reviewing the list, as I realized it is almost completely wrong about life in Europe as an expat. After a few minutes of investigation, it seems the author is a 20-year-old girl who has been living in Paris since (as far back as I can tell) August of last year — less than a year.

I know the pangs of homesickness well (and know that Paris can be a bit of a bubble compared to the rest of Europe), especially for the finer and not-so-finer things from America, but I’m afraid our author is mistaken about a lot of things. That or she merely assumes that her brief experience in Paris accounts for all of Europe.

So here, in the name of pointless Internet justice, is my point-by-point response of this list. Continue reading

On Newt Gingrich and the Criticism of Open Marriages

I’m glad that people are looking into Newt Gingrich’s marital infidelities.

I am not glad, however, that they are using the opportunity to mock and vilify open marriages. Everyone’s talking about it like the idea of an open marriage is a despicable thing. It’s not. It’s a lifestyle choice that two (or more) people can openly and honestly enter into and be happy with.

Gingrich may have wanted an open marriage, but he was never in one. Sleeping around on your wife, and then proposing an open marriage when she finds out about it is not how it works, buddy. Obviously his wife at the time was not interested in it. So he left her.

It’s perfectly fine to criticize Newt Gingrich for attempting to assuage his wife by proposing an open marriage. And it’s perfectly fine to mock him for attempting to live this lifestyle, and succeeding at being a guy who sleeps around and leaves his wife for a new one when he gets bored while at the same time speaking out about how the values traditional marriage are under attack (especially while being the driving force behind the Clinton/Lewinsky investigation). That’s all fine. Hypocrisy is hypocrisy.

But it’s not okay to make a mockery of the idea of open marriage itself.

We’re starting to see a trend where homosexuality is becoming more and more accepted into society (even among conservatives). Some say it’s the last hurdle in the civil rights movement, but there’s another one very close to it, and that’s the world of open relationships, polyamory and the like.

One day it may be perfectly legal for two men or two women to marry anywhere in the country, but the chances of that also including three-person marriages (or four, or five, etc) is highly unlikely. Hopefully after one, the other follows shortly thereafter.

Looking Back at the Last 365 Days

Today is a special day for me.

A year ago today (plus one more if you count the time change), I kissed my Mom goodbye at the airport in Phoenix to board a plane bound for Amsterdam.

I had a backpack, a carry-on suitcase, and two other full-size bags checked and packed beneath the plane – and such was the entirety of my life accompanying me across the Atlantic to Holland. Yes, today is my one year anniversary of moving to The Netherlands.

Not to get all “Thoreau on Walden Pond” existential, but living here has had a peculiar affect on the way I view both myself and the world I live in. Being deprived of your family, friends and home – your entire life, in essence – forces you to really get inside yourself and (as corny as it sounds) find yourself.

I feel like I may have found myself by moving to Europe. Well, at least new parts of myself have been uncovered, and in rapid order. I’ve done a lot of growing up and a lot of maturing over the last year, and a lot of who I am has changed or grown. Anyway, let’s not get too serious. Here’s a bulleted, digestible look back on my year abroad. Continue reading