Tuesday, July 26, 2005

From The Latest Atlantic

One of the highlights of my month is when the Atlantic shows up in the mailbox. I rip into that puppy like a kid with the latest offering from Marvel. Chris Hitchen's book reviews and occasional articles, the long academic treatise on international relations, and the profiles of obscure new European politicians keep me busy for at least a whole evening, and at least once an issue there is an article or feature that causes me to have an "aha!" moment.

This month it was in the "Primary Sources" section, which I reproduce verbatim below:

Sports: The Blush of Victory

"In many animal species red coloration in males- a sign of high testosterone levels- is associated with fitness and dominance... The color may also be linked to prowess in human athletes. Two English academics examined four 'combat sports' (boxing, tae kwon do, Greco-Roman wrestling, and freestyle wrestling) in the 2004 Summer Olympics; participants in these events were randomly assigned either blue or red attire. The athletes in red won 55% of all these competitions- and when contests in which the competitors were deemed unevenly matched were eliminated from the pool, more than 60% of the winners were found to have been wearing red. A similar phenomenon obtained in Euro 2004, a soccer tournament in which five teams alternated shirt color from game to game; all five did better when wearing their red shirts...."

The England football (soccer) team's change shirt is red; they were wearing it in 1966, the only time England has won the World Cup. The 2003 England Rugby World Cup winning team won white and red shirts (and red warm up tops). Three of the top five teams in the 2004-05 English Premier League wore red (Chelsea, a blue team won, breaking red team dominance for the first time in nine years).

Right, thats it; England play in red from now on and Norwich City FC is changing its strip (although we did have a red away strip [or road uniform] for a while and a fat lot of good it did us).

Although the Atlantic does note:
"None of this of course explains why the white-and-red-clad Red Sox spent so many years playing second fiddle to the blue-and-white-clad Yankees."

Hmmm. I think I'm going off this magazine.

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