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Links and Teasers

Some stuff coming soon about the Sloan Analytics Conference and a few other things, but wanted to link to the weekend posts.

— Steve Sabol and the mythology of pro football.

— Today’s column on Rory McIlroy and the pressures of being No. 1.

I should say that I am posting this using airplane WIFI — Louis CK’s modern miracle. I’m heading to Arizona for to do some spring training stories (which should be awesome) and to be one of the keynote speakers at the SABR Analytics Conference beginning Thursday in Phoenix. Come on out — Bill James is going to be there, among many others.

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4 Responses to Links and Teasers

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  2. kimandvictor says:

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  3. Vic says:


    Nice piece on the pressure of being #1.

    “A four-foot putt at the U.S. Open shouldn’t be any tougher than the same four-foot putt for five bucks against your buddy.”

    This reminded me of an interview with John Bachar, a climbing legend who was the best in the world in the early 1980s. He pioneered climbing extremely difficult rock climbing routes without a rope. Watch a few videos of him on youtube to see what he did (Alex Honnold is currently garnering fame as he follows in Bachar’s footsteps).

    He died a couple years ago in his early 50s while climbing unroped (most likely the result of a rock falling from above).

    In this short four-minute interview, Bachar gets to the heart of pressure. He proposes drawing a line in the stand and asking someone to stand in front of the line and then asking if they will fall over the line. He presumes that most people will say no problem, that they won’t fall. Then he says ask people to stand at the edge of a building, where most will refuse for fear of falling. He then asks what the difference is between the two. In answering his own question, he demonstrates the mentality that allowed him to do what he did. His answer:

    “There’s no difference.”

    Here’s the interview:

    Here’s an old That’s Incredible! feature on Bachar (worthy of a chuckle)

    • Vic says:

      And one more link:

      Even in middle age, Bachar was still climbing difficult routes ropeless, with his trademark smooth movements and calm demeanor.

      Interestingly, Bachar’s father actually played professional baseball (and was a mathematics professor) and was quite disappointed when Bachar chose to climb.

      For higher production value and a further understanding of soloing, here are two videos of the modern master, Alex Honnold.

      60 Minutes piece:

      National Geo:

      Anyway, I thought you might find these of interest, Joe, as you think about what allows top athletes to execute under intense pressure.

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