Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

☞ The fact that narrative is pervasive (the previous article) does not mean that analysing it will solve puzzles. Indeed, narrative may provide us with a simplifying lens of particular phenomena, perhaps distorting the situation, so that we may not be able to see it for what it is. The following is an illustration from a sports report on why a certain narrative may prevent us from seeing the complicated problems faced by the Houston Rockets in the second half of January.

“It’s so easy to cling to the convenient narrative instead of doing the dirty work and getting to the heart of the matter. All of us are guilty of this, probably on a daily basis in fact, largely due to the reality that few if any of us have the time, motivation and wherewithal necessary to dig deep enough to discover the hows and whys of a particular problem. Instead we simply latch onto the tried and true storyline that seems best suited to the situation at hand, regardless of whether or not it actually has any basis in reality.

There’s a lot of that swirling about the Rockets right now as people understandably search for answers to explain how it is that a team could go from absolutely scorching hot to ice cold in a mere matter of days. After all, during the second half of December and first week of January, the Rockets ran roughshod over the vast majority of their competition, blowing out teams en masse while putting up 120 points against even elite defenses like those possessed by Memphis and Chicago. Houston went 12-3 during that stretch, reaching a season-high seven games over .500 in the process.

By now you all know what happened next. The Rockets hit the road and rapidly hit a brick wall, dropping seven straight, six of which took place away from the friendly confines of Toyota Center, and the club only managed to pull out of that tailspin thanks to a well-timed and much-needed fourth quarter rally against the woeful Charlotte Bobcats.

What changed to so suddenly transform the Rockets from rolling to reeling? If your kneejerk response is to blame it all on one thing – chemistry, coaching, effort, etc. – that sort of oversimplification is likely to fall well short of accurately explaining the Rockets’ recent malaise. Because the truth is there wasn’t just one thing, but rather a whole host of issues that factored into the team’s slump.”

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