Saturday, December 22, 2007

Einstein did not invent the APA handicap system

I've changed the subtitle of this blog, which used to reference my APA Skill Level (Which is 3). Perhaps I had it in there as a warning to prospective readers that my blog is from a beginner's perspective. But, I had an epiphany the other night that I really don't care about my skill level, and other than it being a mostly reasonable way to create some kind of competition between players of disparate skill levels, its pretty much BS.

I lost this week. (I may post more about that later). Afterward my opponent tried to console me (although I wasn't actually very upset, I was just feeling ill, before, during and after the match). He said he didn't understand why I was still a 3 and that my game, especially my strategy seemed to be more 4-like. Perhaps if I had been feeling better, I would have taken this as the compliment it was intended to be, but in my state of grumpiness, I had very little tolerance for BS, and I couldn't muster the energy to care....and here is the moment of clarity.... because the Skill Levels are empty, hollow and meaningless (or at least people make them mean so much more than they are).

From what I've observed, the people who tend to move up quickly from 2 to 3, or 3 to 4, move up because they are consistent shotmakers. To move up to a 4, you have to be able to execute some kind of pattern play, and not simply bang em in. (Although I've seen that happen, too). To become a 5, usually means that you're talking about a different kind of player. But at best, all the levels have a plus or minus one error range. But, for the lower levels, the rankings don't tell you about their ability to strategerize, play 2 way shots or defense, or even their win-loss record. In fact, in the discussion why I should be a four, there was an implication that I must be in some kind of losing streak, and that's why I'm still a three (which isn't true). See, if Einstein had invented the system he would have noted its limitations.

Anyway, if part of his point is that I'm not playing up to my potential in league, that's probably true (and previously discussed), but suddenly the compliment of being a 4 seemed kind of hollow. Which I guess is good. To be concerned about your skill level means to be concerned about some external consideration, and not on one's stroke, making the ball, hitting the position. One shot at a time.

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