Numbers don't lie
by Henry Liao for philippinebasketball.ph (03/08/2012)
During my academic days in the sixties and seventies, subjects that have anything to do with numbers or statistics were my favorites. Arithmetic, Geometry, Trigonometry, Algebra and Mathematical Analysis I passed them all, ahem, with flying colors.
?Mental math? I enjoyed so much.
Noteworthy is the fact that students during my time were not allowed access to calculators during math exams.
The dependence on computers and other electronic gadgets also was still two or three decades away.
Allow me to cite the numbers that bore some meaning in my life.
A 5-5-5 baby, I was born in the fifth month of the Year of the Double-Nickel.
When I was around two years old, my parents studiously taught me how to count 1-2-3. Before long, I could already count up to 10.
Upon reaching high school (or teenage-hood), I was lucky to have some fresh-out-of-college lady teachers whose beauty rivals that of Hollywood legends Aubrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren.
Once, I took fancy (a terrible ?crush?) on an English teacher of mine. So enamored and physically attracted was I to this St. Scholastica College product at the tender age of 13 that ?1-4-3? was what I thought I felt for her then. I realized later it was simply a ?puppy love.?
Because I graduated from a conservative Jesuits-run all-boys high school, my stepping into a co-ed college at age 17 was a ?liberation? of sorts. There, I learned to mingle with a number of girls from my own generation.
A few were of the to-die-for ?36-24-36? physique. One was a daughter of one of the country?s ambassadors who I came in close contact with only because she wanted to learn a trick or two in Algebra from her reed-thin, bespectacled classmate.
By the mid-1970s, I was already out of school and ready to face the challenges that the ?real world? would offer.
At age 28, I would proudly declare ?1-4-3-4-4? to the woman that I eventually married. It was a 15-year union that was cut short by her untimely death at age 47 but nonetheless brought twin joys Matthew Lester and Marianne Kimberly into the family.
What then does this piece have to do with sports?
Well, all sports competitions also deal with numbers and statistics.
In some sports, a mere decimal point can spell victory or defeat.
A successful field goal in basketball is worth a ?2? or a ?3? depending on its distance to the basket. A ?10-10-10? is a triple-double.
In volleyball, a team needs to compile a ?25? to win a set. In tennis, a score of ?6? in one set results in a victory for one side.
In a golf match, a par is worth a ?4,? a birdie is a ?3,? an ace is a ?2,? and a hole-in-one is a ?1.? Unlike other disciplines, however, the lower your score is, the better it is.
Golf?s scoring system reminds me of the grade-point system that is being utilized by my college alma mater (De La Salle) until now.
A GPA of ?4? is the highest (perfect) score a student can ever achieve. (During my time, this merited a Jose Rizal certificate every semester). A score of ?1? means one has flunked a class.
I think DLSU is the only tertiary school in the country that employs such a GPA system. The other universities and colleges compute GPAs in a reverse way. The highest passing score is ?1? and a failing grade is ?4.?
Sports imitates life. And it?s because the numbers don?t lie.