Wednesday, December 22, 2010

You gotta have heart.

If you're a believer, as I am, that we are living through an era of panem et circenses, in which the masses are appeased by spectacles and such, you probably disdain sports as much as I do. I see no appeal and derive no charm from hopped up money grubbers playing meaningless games.

What's more, over the years, sports have gotten worse. With the advent of the 24-hour sports cycle, the proliferation of statistics threatens to overwhelm. Coverage begets data which begets more coverage which begets more data. If you want to know how good a player is, don't look at how his team performs, or what he does, consult, instead, some computer program.

This same miasma of analysis has, of course, taken over our business and those, too, of our clients. We rarely consider our gut reaction to spots. Let's look at the data is our shibboleth. Consider how we "review" people, with convoluted language and abstruse measurements that are all but meaningless. (In an advertising agency, there should be one criterion for review: "It's Friday before a Monday new business pitch. I would/would not call on this person.")

All that being said, with the New York Knicks moderately resurgent, I did read an article on the sports page this morning about a point guard for the Knicks whose name escapes me. He is favorably compared to another guard whom the Knicks, last year, passed up on drafting. And then came the kicker. The Knick's coach had this to say about his guard: “The biggest thing is that it’s hard to measure heart," D’Antoni said. “And he has a big heart. And when he gets ticked off, he’s ready to roll. You also don’t calculate what that means to the other players, who feed off that energy and that meanness and that toughness."


It's what's missing from most analysis.

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