Showing posts with label Sports. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sports. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sonoma County vs. Odessa, Texas.

I was thinking this morning about a Press Democrat article from February of this year, which discussed high school athletes who received scholarships from Sonoma County.  The striking element of the story was the number of female student-athletes receiving scholarships to play college soccer.  Fifteen (15) seniors signed letters of intent to play women's soccer at the college level.  By way of contrast, there was only one Division I football scholarship offered, and that was to attend an FCS school, UC Davis.

"High School Girls Soccer Reigns on National Signing Day"
 Howard Senzell, Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, February 1, 2012
Available at 
In Sonoma County, the importance of women's soccer is almost a given for the County's 488,116 residents, so this outcome isn't considered too unusual.  However, if football and soccer scholarships were evenly distributed across the country, you'd expect Sonoma County to generate seven (7) D1 football scholarship players every year, but only 3-4 women's soccer scholarship players.

Sonoma County's lack of D1 football players isn't necessarily that surprising -- the county is relatively remote, and Northern California's football culture is more concentrated in Sacramento and the East Bay.  While there are good athletes here, this isn't a place like San Diego, with great athletes across the board.  Scouts thus come to the area infrequently, so a D1 player on the bubble is less likely to be noticed here, even when that caliber of athlete exists.

The reason the football data is interesting, though, is because it disproves the "San Diego" model.  Sonoma County isn't like Contra Costa County, where the success of Danville and San Ramon in soccer is complemented by the football prowess of De La Salle. If that rule were true, you'd expect almost no women's soccer scholarship athletes to come out of Sonoma County.

Expected County Population1 D1 Football Scholarship.
Instead, of course, the truth is the opposite.  There is something quite unusual about Sonoma County and women's soccer, statistically speaking.  I suspect this is the most uneven distribution in this direction between the two sports in the United States.  To put the distribution in perspective: 
  • A normal county that produces only a single D1 football player is about 117,124 people, or somewhere between the size of Humboldt County (134,623) and Mendocino County (87,553), the 35th and 38th largest counties in California.
  • However, a normal city that produces 15 women's soccer scholarships is about 2,017,830 people, or somewhere between the size of Houston (2,145,146) and Philadelphia (1,536,471), the fourth and fifth largest cities in the U.S.
Of course, you'd kind of expect there to be a women's soccer magnet somewhere.  You know, the equivalent of, say, Monongahela, Pennsylvania. Or, perhaps, Odessa, Texas.

If there is, it looks like it might very well be Sonoma County, California.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Romeo Crennel is Good at His Job.

Romeo Crennel is good at his job.  This statement flies in the face of conventional wisdom -- Crennel is considered something of a failure by that standard.  He's only had one winning season in ~5 seasons as a head coach, and his team this year is just 2-10.

I say this after watching Merril Hoge on ESPN comment on the Chiefs win this past weekend, and the murder-suicide that took place the day before. Merril argued that
  • There is no skill set that prepares an individual to deal with that kind of a situation;
  • That the Chiefs were inspiring in their performance; and 
  • That Romeo Crennel displayed amazing leadership qualities.  
I like Merril, and I am impressed with Romeo Crennel's handling of the situation, but I don't think the analysis is right.

First, I can think of ten different skill sets that are all designed to deal with the horrible situation that occurred at the Chiefs' facility -- cop, firefighter, EMT, doc, shrink, nurse, lawyer, judge, priest, and rabbi, just to start. These kinds of things are routine for those jobs. Each one of those individuals has a skill set designed to deal with a specific part of that situation. So Merril's wrong on that one.

The second is whether the win is inspiring.  NFL players are professional athletes, but they are really professional entertainers, like stage actors.  The byword of those fields has always been "the show must go on."  They did their jobs as entertainers -- commendable, but something more than that?

Finally, on whether this is a display of leadership by Crennel -- Crennel did his job, and did it well. It is common to overlook that a coach like Crennel is the operational manager of an organization worth approximately a billion dollars.  That organization's value is based on holding eight events (games) at their stadium each year.  Romeo made sure the game took place, and he deserves a lot of credit for that.

Part of being a coach is being a leader, but Hoge heralding Crennel as a great leader misses the schwerpunkt.  The important question, the tough point, is why was Crennel able to lead? Why is Romeo Crennel good at his job?

I can't tell much, from thousands of miles away, about Romeo Crennel's personality, or the way he interacts with people.  But I'm probably right about the following point -- Romeo Crennel has the capacity to form intimate relationships -- that he is able and capable of being affectionate towards people. Such a capacity is the single best predictor of success in every aspect of life. I think it's the reason Jovan Belcher sought him out, the reason his players gravitated to him in a crisis, and the reason the Chiefs were able to go to work on Sunday.  Romeo Crennel has a "skill set," for lack of a better word, to deal with such situations -- and that skill set, not winning, is the sine qua non of coaching.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Warm Ups.

Manchester United should be doing better than 0-1 to Braga.