*Nerd Alert* *Nerd Alert* *Nerd Alert* *Nerd Alert*
When the World Cup began last month, the usual jokes about Guatemala’s failure to qualify began. As most of my friends know, I’m the first to admit that our soccer team is terrible. There’s a phrase we say over there: “jugaron como nunca, perdieron como siempre.” They played like they never have, they lost like they always do. Case in point: a couple years ago we went to watch an Argentina vs. Guatemala match at the LA Coliseum. I knew we would get slaughtered, that was a given. I admitted defeat to my Argentine friends before we even got in the car. That’s not to say I didn’t support the team, I did, but I was aware of the outcome. (I’ll also go on a tangent here and say that the behavior of some of the Guatemalan fans was quite embarrassing. Again, I wasn’t shocked. The Argentine’s were surprisingly quiet, especially given the 7-0 deficit, but I think they knew the odds they were up against.) Anyhow, there was a Guatemalan father and son sitting behind us. As people started emptying out, the father turned to his son and said, “I’m sorry we lost son.” To which the four year old (or so), replied: “we always lose, dad!” There was such innocence casualness in the way he said it, like “duh dad, what did you expect?”
Anyhow, I started thinking about the reasons why some teams always make it past the qualifiers, and why others never seem to make the cut. Obviously talent and leadership are two of the largest factors in determining a teams success. But there are also obvious economic factors: can you pay talented players enough to attract them? Can you attract the right trainers? Can you afford the infrastructure for training? How much money can you invest in soccer, when half of your population is starving? I’m sure it’s an obvious conclusion, and I’m not the first to make it. But my curiosity has gotten the best of me, and now I want to see the numbers! This has led me to a research quest: I want to compare advancement in the last 3 or 4 world cups to a countries GDP per capita, see if/what the correlation is between the two.
As Jeff mentioned last night when I was starting my research, I’m sure I could goggle this and find what I’m looking for; I did a quick search and found similar stuff, but nothing like what I really want. I didn’t look too deep though. Honestly, I think I want to find out for myself. I’m excited to pretend I’m still in school, gather numbers, make charts and comparisons, and make my own conclusions. So, if you know of similar research, don’t tell me until I’m done with mine :) If you have specific suggestions on what correlations I should try to find, please do. As for me, I’m gonna add some more statistical numbers to my excel spreadsheet, yesssssss.