As close as it gets

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I’ve been keeping a log of working out since 2003. For the last ~12 months, I’ve been recording the game-level detail of squash matches as well (e.g., WLLWL for a 2-3 loss). I’ve been playing @Bain since 2008, and we’ve made some jokes about how our matches have always seemed very even, but I realized this week that I have the data to test that. I did a quick look through my data and sent off this email to most frequent 2008-09 squash partner:

“So, what I have learned (in addition to the depressing stat that I've averaged 9.5 minutes/day of working out since December 2003) is that Alex and I are 11-10 in matches and 60-60 in games. That's pretty much as close as it gets. Awesome.”

Alex posted this to Twitter with the aside, “I'd thought it was much closer :-)”

Turns out, he was right. Alex had a suspicion that he had a huge advantage in the first few months we played, and that more recently I’ve taken charge. Nope – if that were true, you’d see his game total climb much faster than mine, then see me catch up. Not the case:

In fact, over 120 games, neither of us have ever been ahead by more than five games:

Not only that, but squash is notoriously streaky. If that were true for Alex and me, you’d expect wins to tend to be followed by wins and for losses to follow losses. Or, perhaps each win takes so much out of the winner that he tends to lose the next game. Nope, once again completely even. Following a win, I was 30-29. Our games are exactly as predictable as a fair coin: dead random.


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