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11-16-2012, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
I have not actually tried to make that argument, but you repeatedly asked for an explanation of the talent-pool-size argument and I tried to provide that.
My apologies then, I took your post the wrong way.

Originally Posted by lazerbullet
And how exactly is athletic genius distributed across population? Make a strong case, please.

I'm saying it's pretty easily by random chance, because most of the things in life are in fact just this... random.
If genius is truly random, isn't it odd that geniuses aren't distributed evenly across the human population?

Earlier you cited Lennon and Page as examples of modern musical genius, two guys whose birth was 200 miles and 4 years apart.

Beethoven and Mozart essentially lived at the same place and time, and Beethoven was personal friends with Haydn, Mozart with Bach. Shakespeare shared London with the other great English playwright, Christopher Marlowe. Leonardo Da Vinci and Michaelangelo were close enough to dislike each other. J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis shared beers at the pub while writing their signature epics. Three of the Beatles were triple-threat musical geniuses who just happened to all live in the same little city at the same time.

Peter Forsberg and Markus Naslund were born 10 days apart in a town the size of Moose Jaw. Doesn't that seem weirdly un-random? Don't all those examples seem a little odd when you consider the incredibly massive cohort of people who have written books and played music in talentless obscurity all over the world over the past several hundred years?

If you look into any of the examples above, it becomes quite clear that talent alone was only part of the equation. Genius requires cultivation, inspiration, focus, and most of all opportunity. Those factors are definitely not spread across space and time equally. When all of those factors align, genius-level talent emerges and multiplies at a pace that defies randomness.

Applying all of this to the discussion at hand -- consider the nature of hockey development at present in the various corners of the hockey world. Would you say that the sport presently nurtures raw talent the way it did 50 years ago? Would you say that the same proportion of boys choose to pursue hockey, that those boys spend as much time cultivating their talent in open play, and that their coaches give them the same opportunity to apply that skill in game settings? If you had the talent of a Gretzky/Orr/Lemieux, would you really rather grow up in 2012 Montreal rather than 1930 Montreal?

That's where the population argument goes off the rails for me. Even given the increase in "number of potential Harveys", there is not a corresponding increase in the resources and opportunity directed to developing those players, nor a moment of forward progress in our understanding of the sport's potential, which is at least equally important.

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