The Art of Stealing Fitness
A zero sum game is a scenario in which one person gains something and as a result another person loses an equivalent value. Popular zero sum games include poker, and other forms of gambling, but since we as NCAA athletes are prohibited from most forms of gambling, we have to fulfill our desire for ruthless competition in different ways. Often, we choose fitness.
Fitness is not widely considered to be a zero sum game, because if I am working out, how can that negatively impact anyone else? Here’s how: Take an arbitrary value for the average level of fitness in the world, say 30. The more fit you are, the higher your fitness value is. Say senior David Boote has a fitness value of 43, and I have a fitness value of 30. If Boote works out, he will gain 1 fitness point, therefore raising the average value of fitness in the world to 30.1, and his personal fitness value to 44. If you do some simple arithmetic, you will find that Boote’s fitness level relative to the rest of the world (call this value y) changed from +13 to +13.9 giving him a delta (D) of .9. However, everyone else in this theoretical world will have a D equal to -0.1, due simply to the fact that Boote took the initiative to do a little bit of cardio on a Sunday morning. In other words, Boote stole our fitness.
Now that we have explored the mathematics and theory of a zero sum game in a theoretical world, we must look at how we, as a Stanford Golf program, have implemented this knowledge in order to enable us to make the marginal gains that separate those who win from those who don’t. As a Stanford golfer, I field many questions about my daily routine, including where we travel and how I am playing, but when we come to our fitness schedule other students seem perplexed: “Why do you guys work out?…it’s golf”, “What do you need cardio for?”, “But you guys only do flexibility, right?”. Every yard off the tee and degree of flexibility, as well as the absence of exhaustion on the back nine of a 36 hole, 12 hour day can make the difference between a good score or simply a good effort. This all begins in the weight room, where we take pride…in stealing your fitness.
by Bradley Knox