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Penalty Predictor Dice

For England fans who like a flutter
  (+4, -1)
(+4, -1)
  [vote for,
against]

Beat the bookie with this sure-fire system for predicting the outcome of any penalty shootout involving the England football team.

Set in a beautiful presentation box and hand-crafted by hardened cynics, these dice are marked on all sides with the phrase "England will lose." To be extra sure, we have weighted the dice so that they always land on the side which says "England will DEFINITELY lose."

Simply follow the instructions on the dice and bet accordingly. I'm not a big fan of get-rich-quick schemes, but this one is a sure fire winner.

Available in all good sports shops, right next to the heavily discounted replica England kits, priced £19.66.

Fishrat, Jun 25 2012

Soccer's Heavy Boredom http://www.grantlan...lips-soccer-boredom
by Brian Phillips, the man who writes about soccer in a way that makes it OK for people who hate soccer to read. [calum, Jun 27 2012]

[link]






       Granted, I have little understanding of the world of soccer, given that it is the second-most boring team sport on Earth, but isn't it a good thing when England loses, considering that the riot police are deployed en masse and everyone's car gets torched when England wins?
Alterother, Jun 25 2012
  

       //second-most boring team sport on Earth//   

       So, third is basketball and second is soccer. Hmm. I'm gonna guess baseball for number one? That being the only game where when nobody hits the ball, it's considered incredibly exciting.
ytk, Jun 25 2012
  

       You win a cookie.
Alterother, Jun 25 2012
  

       Sooo, you've never watched cricket then?
AusCan531, Jun 25 2012
  

       Cricket is inscrutably fascinating to us Yanks. Everybody here knows it exists, and that it's sorta like baseball but not really, and that's about it. This leads to a sort of bemused interest whenever we happen to see it being played—which is admittedly not all that often, although it does seem to show up on some of the higher-numbered cable channels from time to time.   

       There are apparently “wickets” of some sort, but they're evidently not like croquet wickets that you hit the ball through, because we don't see any of those on the field, so are they those wooden things that stick up, maybe? And look at the crazy way the pitcher throws the ball. And then the batter hits it with a device that's apparently some combination of a baseball bat, a golf club, and a pizza turner, and after he successfully hits it… nothing happens! So what are all those people doing out on the field? How the hell does any of this make any sense? Hey, isn't Jeopardy on now?
ytk, Jun 25 2012
  

       I'm English, but not a cricket lover. I've always been perplexed by the way the term 'wicket' seems to refer to at least three different things: the grass in front of the stumps (eg people talking about the condition of the wicket), the stumps themselves (a batsman defends his wicket), and a player's individual turn in bat (Hampshire have lost another wicket). Occasionally a radio presenter will announce that there has "been a wicket at Edgebaston" which may be a fourth use of the term, referring to the moment that a batsman is given out.
Fishrat, Jun 25 2012
  

       //a sort of bemused interest//   

       OK - Cricket 101. The stumps on the bail side of the wicket are safe, unless the silly mid-off is in his box. Three strikes are called a "six", and a six is a fore. If the ball goes under the long leg it's an over, and if it goes over the short leg it's a bye. When all the men are on the humbering, any three of them can declare Long Ives, which puts the batsman back two pegs. Apart from that it's basically the same as hurling.   

       There are a few other rules which are less common-sense, but they seldom come into effect except on the fourth day of a three day bond. You probably don't need to understand third manning, body-planing or palloning until you've watched a few games.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 25 2012
  

       This confirms my belief that cricket is not a sport, but a ploy to confuse and perplex Americans in some subtle and understated form of British vengeance.
Alterother, Jun 25 2012
  

       I've been in Oz for over 20 years now and am a fan of Aussie Rules football. Cricket however.... I recognize and now understand many of the terms (although not quite to the level which [MB] ramped things up) just through osmosis. I still can't wrap my head around a game where they break for tea and matches go for up to 5 days.   

       By the way [Alterother], the cricket fans on the HB have given you a Free "ignorant North American who just doesn't know any better" pass by not berating you for using such terms as 'pitcher' and 'throws'.
AusCan531, Jun 26 2012
  

       Thanks for the crash course, [Max]. I think I'm definitely leg before wicket now.   

       //using such terms as 'pitcher' and 'throws'//   

       That was me, not [Alter], and I deliberately misapplied those terms for purposes of dramatic illustration. /I/ know what they're properly called, of course, but that's only because I happen to know pretty much everything about pretty much everything.
ytk, Jun 26 2012
  

       Umm, I knew that.
AusCan531, Jun 26 2012
  

       //second-most boring team sport on Earth//

I'm worried now that there are rather a lot of sports vying for the number one slot - will it be baseball, golf or Formula One? Cricket, of course, is fascinating - if only from an anthropological point of view.
hippo, Jun 26 2012
  

       List of most boring team sports:   

       1) American Football
boat race; Oxford vs Cambridge
Baseball
Tennis; male double
Rounders
Rugby; canonical
Polo (excluding unicycle~ and yak~)
Ultimate
  

       2) Football   

       3) Cricket
Loris, Jun 26 2012
  

       I can accept American Football being on that list--not everyone's a fan. I'm glad to see that someone else agrees that soccer belongs in the #2 slot. On the other hand, I call for one distinction to be made: _Australian_ rugby is not the least bit boring.
Alterother, Jun 26 2012
  

       Dear Loris, Wrong! now be a sport and take it all back.   

       signed, d
dentworth, Jun 26 2012
  

       //boat race; Oxford vs Cambridge//   

       To be fair, they have tried to liven it up recently.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 26 2012
  

       List of most boring activities   

       1) sports   

       (PS - happy, Alterother?)
Loris, Jun 26 2012
  

       Sports are just a simple illustration of how our world is transformed by emphasis on things of imaginary importance.
rcarty, Jun 26 2012
  

       [Loris]: Yep. Arguing over which sport is the most boring is like arguing about which terminal cancer patient is closest to death.
ytk, Jun 26 2012
  

       I'm always happy, [Loris]. It's much preferable to the alternative.   

       Anyhow, the only team sport I give a flying fuck about is Ice Hockey, which, as we all know, is less a sport than it is a seasonal religion.
Alterother, Jun 27 2012
  

       //flying fuck//   

       More a hobby than a sport. Still has risk of injury though.
AusCan531, Jun 27 2012
  

       //Sports are just a simple illustration of how our world is transformed by emphasis on things of imaginary importance.//   

       You have no idea. After the final match of a recent basketball championship there was rioting in the streets here in Los Angeles. I'm talking full on riots—flipping cars over, settings things on fire, looting, the whole bit. Why? Because the local team /won/ and the rioters were “celebrating”. I hate to think what would have happened if they'd lost. And not long after that, a man was beaten nearly to death in the parking lot of the local baseball stadium, because he was wearing a jersey of the team from San Francisco. He ended up with severe brain damage as a result.   

       To my mind, incidents like these are reason enough to ban sporting events completely. Although, I will say that following the recent ice hockey championship match—which, I'm told, was a Big Deal to the sort of people who concern themselves with such things —the fans comported themselves quite well, by L.A. standards anyway.
ytk, Jun 27 2012
  

       I told you, it's a religion. Religions never, ever lead to senseless brutality and rioting in the streets.
Alterother, Jun 27 2012
  

       <old joke>"Some friends were watching a fight, and an ice hockey game broke out!"</old joke> - I did once see an ice hockey game (San Jose Sharks) and I had absolutely no clue what was going on.

Factors which determine the boringness of a sport:
- (a) probability of crashes/ carnage/ mayhem/ catastrophe/ death - road cycling scores quite high; golf scores low
- (b) probability of seeing the knickers of attractive women - women's tennis and women's beach volleyball score high; golf scores low
- (c) probability of the scoreline turning out differently to what you might have predicted - Formula One scores very low
- (d) probability of seeing beautiful scenery - downhill skiing and Tour de France score high - darts scores low
- etc.
hippo, Jun 27 2012
  

       Relevant link added addressing soccerball and how boring it is and why boredom is such a key part in the outrageous excitement of it all.   

       I like that hippo's boredom metrics relate in only one instance to the sport itself (and even then only in relation to the outcome, rather than how the outcome is arrived at), and everything else is incidental/window dressing.
calum, Jun 27 2012
  

       I forgot one:
- (e) probability that someone will talk about a sporting event at work the day after it happens, and in doing so (for bonus points) erroneously refer to a team in the second person (as in "We thrashed you on the pitch yesterday") - football (soccer) scores very high - caber-tossing scores low

Then, boringness = e/(a x b x c x d)
hippo, Jun 27 2012
  

       //boringness = e/(a x b x c x d) //   

       The main issue I have with this equation is that if any of the values on the denominator are zero, boringness is undefined.
Loris, Jun 27 2012
  

       I used to rub shoulders with a bunch of stock and currency brokers out in the wild Caribbean who, when they weren't persuading rich individuals to invest their offshore cash in exploratory mining companies, enthusiastically and compulsively watched sports on Satellite TV. All the footballs (American, both College and Pro, Soccer, Australian etc) Golf, Tennis, Cricket, Baseball seemed equally exciting - if it involved people running about, they were glued to it. At first it amazed me how a relatively small group of people of differing nationalities and backgrounds could all share such a varied whoop-inducing interest in so many different (but to my feeling, equally mind-numbingly boring) sports. It turned out they were all spread betting vast amounts of cash on not only the outcome of the games, but the minutiae of who would catch the ball the most, or how far a particular individual would run up the field. The more cash riding on a particular event, the wilder and more excited they'd get.   

       They were all personally vested in how the action unfolded on the field/pitch/course - and I think that's the overriding subjective element that's missing from the above relatively (ladies' pants aside) objective formula.
zen_tom, Jun 27 2012
  

       This is all very well, but what if england play the dutch, huh? Thought of that?
zeno, Jun 27 2012
  

       Everyone loses?
Alterother, Jun 27 2012
  

       // I did once see an ice hockey game (San Jose Sharks) and I had absolutely no clue what was going on //   

       Try Finland vs. Czech Republic in the semi-finals of the European Championship. It's perfectly clear what's going on; a good-natured, knockabout contact sport between teams that respect one another, somewhat marred when the Finns elected to call in an air strike after a Czech artillery fire mission bracketed their goal.
8th of 7, Jun 27 2012
  

       Sounds like UMaine vs. Boston College.   

       Ice Hockey is the pinnacle of team sports. It requires speed, precision, grace, lightning reflexes, and stamina. It moves quickly and there is never a dull moment, the rules are comprehensive yet streamlined, so that they do not slow or hinder the game. The only drawback is the large amount of equipment and infrastructure it requires.   

       Soccer fans go on and on about soccer being the world's most popular sport because of the skill and athleticism and alleged excitement blah blah, but the true reason is that the only thing you need to play a game of soccer is a ball. If it weren't for the limitations imposed upon it by the need for skates, sticks, a puck, and a sheet of ice, hockey would be the world's most popular sport.
Alterother, Jun 27 2012
  

       //If it weren't for...//   

       Well, if you're going in that direction, I beg to contend.   

       Were it not for the requirement for a slate- covered pitch consisting of two 19 degree slopes meeting in a 72-inch wide lead-lined gulley, a small clock tower, seven gabled windows in four different sizes, a series of elaborate stone gargoyles, a weathercock in the form a sheep rampant, a forty-five foot sheer drop and the nest of a tawny owl, the Aloysian Roof Game would undoubtedly be the most popular spectator sport. If there were anywhere safe for spectators to stand.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 27 2012
  

       I'm sorry, did I mistakenly leave any opening for interpretation? Did I somehow give the impression that the aforesaid was merely my opinion?   

       Well, it was not. It is plainly established fact. Soccer sucks, Hockey rules. Go Bruins.
Alterother, Jun 27 2012
  

       //The main issue I have with this equation is that if any of the values on the denominator are zero, boringness is undefined. -- Loris, // - true, but if you look carefully, for any sport the probabilities of those things is never quite zero.
hippo, Jun 28 2012
  

       I'm also a bit worried that working from that equation the most exciting sport is one something like that featured in the Deathrace film. While that did extensively feature both (a) and (b), it did tend to shy away from the combination.
Loris, Jun 28 2012
  

       As an addendum to hippo's equation I'd like to add DrBob's nationalism, jingoism & xenophobia multiplier thusly...

[Boringness] x 2 (if playing traditional rivals, e.g. the Germans or one of the southern hemisphere colonies in the case of England or the English in the case of Wales & Scotland).

So, in the interests of science, let's plug some figures in and test the validity of the formula in relation to a randomly chosen recent football match.

Starting with e) the likelihood of being berated by a snappily dressed colleague, who has suddenly discovered that he has Latin antecedents. Well, pretty low, I think, but higher in the current circumstances than would normally be the case, so lets say 25% for the sake of argument.

Now lets plug in some more numbers.

For a) there's not much chance of carnage & mayhem, although catastrophe has a pretty high chance given that we are talking about the England football team. But overall, a very low score here. However, the Italian's are a dramatic lot and like to roll around on the floor in an overly theatrical fashion so some mock calamity is worth taking into consideration. Lets call it 10%.

b) the knickers factor. Not much chance really but TV directors these days do seem obsessesed with zooming in on every vaguely female looking person in the stadium as often as possible and this almosts counts as full on sex for many football watchers so we will give this a controversial 50%.

c) Scoreline probability variance. Low. However, having been thrashed nil-nil, there was a point where England, rather depressingly, were actually ahead in the penalty shoot out. So we will give this 20%. Odds of five to one against in a two horse race sounds about right, I think.

d) Scenery? I'll give this 5% if you count the occasional long-shot of the stadium from an overhead blimp.

So this gives us [25%]/[10% x 50% x 20% x 5%] or [25%]/[0.05%] or a boringness factor of 500. So pretty boring really.

Fortunately we (England) didn't make it through to the next match where the amply supplied & recuperated Germans were eagerly awaiting us in a strongly prepared position so we are spared the nightmare of the njx multiplier effect.

The idea? Nah, fishbone. There is always the chance (remote though it might be) of England winning. It's the hope that kills you!
DrBob, Jun 28 2012
  

       Hmmm - maybe I should break the "Sports Boringness Index" out into a new idea...
hippo, Jun 28 2012
  
      
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