Monday, November 8, 2010

2010.11.06 — What's in a Number? Football fushigi

For us Canadians, the big Grey Cup football game is fast approaching. There is excitement in the air, as the local Lions were all but eliminated from the play offs before today's game. Their fate was dependent on Saskatchewan winning their game. And, they in fact have managed to live on for another play off, with Edmonton's loss to the Riders. [I am btw, a Roughriders fan by birth.]

But, this fushigi started with GD selling a Grey Cup game pool ticket, as he does every year, to me yesterday. I gave him my money in exchange for a sealed envelope. When I opened it, the very official looking ticket had the initially dismaying numbers East 6 || West 16.

'Oh,' I said, 'these are not very good numbers [for football scores.]'

'Nah,' he countered, 'the 6 isn't great, but the 16 isn't bad.'

'You think so?'

'Of course. There was a 16 at some point in last year's Grey Cup,' he said.

I went away with my ticket, not fully convinced of his argument. But after watching the Edmonton Saskatchewan game — see below — I looked it up and he was right. And, furthermore, it turns out there was also a 6! And the only reason I looked that up in the first place was because, in yet another example of the humorous perversity of life, today's game contained a quarter in which 6 points were scored and the half finished with Edmonton having 16 points.

I know, I know, just a coincidence! But I repeat: at what point does a long series of improbable coincidences stop being just coincidences?

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