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Not Strictly Soccer Related: Conventional Wisdom Is Annoying

(This NSSR is a day early, because tomorrow's a holiday and I plan on spending little to no time online if I can help it, so here we are today)


One of the things I have always loved to do - in life, as well as in sports - is challenge conventional wisdom. I don't like laziness of thought; if I take the time to say something, I like to make sure I've put at least a modicum of thought into it and haven't just parroted something I've heard something else without attempting to understand it. This often leads me to rethink things; this is most apparent in my thinking about baseball where, thanks to the excellent work of, among others, the Graham MacAree's of the world, I have come to the conclusion (and I am by no means alone in this) that the "normal" historical ways of evaluating players - ERA and wins for pitchers, batting average and RBI's for hitters - are really not good ways of measuring how good a player actually is, for a lot of reasons that are widely readable elsewhere so I won't clog up this space with them, since I know not everyone here cares.

I bring this up because I read this piece by TPalmer on Graham's Chelsea blog, with the provocatively awesome title "Are Goals Overrated?" This is right in my wheelhouse, because I love thinking about things in different ways - my first reaction was "no, they're not", but then I thought "hang on, maybe they are". Goals in and of themselves are certainly not overrated - without goals, you can't win games - but the scoring of a quantity of goals by specific individuals almost certainly is overrated. Look at the example in his article - Fernando Torres. He was widely being decried (at least in the media) as a bust for Chelsea this year, but he has a Champions League winners medal and he also just won the Golden Boot at the European Championships, so he's probably not a bust; it's just that the conventional measure of worth might not actually be adequate in his case (and many others as well).

So that's just one example of when challenging conventional wisdom is a good thing. Are you like this? Do you prefer to dig around and find out alternatives, or are you OK with accepting things at face value? If you're a challenger, what is your favorite example of a piece of conventional wisdom that you've either debunked yourself or discovered that someone else has?

And in case that whole topic doesn't really interest you, or in addition, if you're American, do you have any plans for the Fourth of July? I'm going on a bike ride and then staying home with my skittish, terrified-of-noise cats while my neighborhood turns in to Little Beirut again. I really like big city-sponsored displays of fireworks, but when everyone in the freakin' neighborhood is armed to the teeth and the neighborhood smells like explosives for 8 hours, maybe that's a bit much? Anyway, happy fourth to the American crowd.

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