Dr Nick Owen MBE PLUS

Working in and on the Business of Cultural Education

Day 17 of the Basketball 2.6 Challenge: does counting count?

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Some wag by the name of William Bruce Cameron is quoted for this rather pithy quote about numbers:  “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”

Whilst originally a sociologist and not a basketball player of any great note, Cameron’s point is referred to in a wide range of contexts; business improvement, pain analysis, haemoglobin levels and more recently, basketball throwing charity campaigns.

When it comes to the trial and tribulations of taking pot shots at basketball hoops on these early sunny May mornings, what seemingly has mattered is the number of basketballs falling through the hoops, the near misses, the total effort and in recent days, the time it’s taking to reach the first target of 26 successful shots.  These have all be diligently counted by my independent invigilator, but do they count? Do they matter in the broader schemes of life?  What impact are they having in the big wide world beyond the neighbour’s driveway?

The answer is at first glance hard to come to terms with: in the wider scheme of life, this counting isn’t counting very much at all; unless you accept that there are other unseen consequences to the effort and the telling of the effort which are not noticed by many, not counted by any, but could be counting quite a lot if we could just witness it. 

If this story and its numbers are giving you the reader, any kind of pleasure, if only for a few seconds, then perhaps that counts (although it’s not been counted as far as I know).  If the cash raised through the campaign can go on to generate some curiosity, achievement and pleasure by the eventual young people who engage with the Let’s Create packs, then that too will count (although counting it will be a challenge in itself).

Another wag, the psychologist Robert Sternberg (also not a basketball player) is a long-standing critic of standardised tests in education which measure what is measurable rather than what really matters: another take on the ‘counting what counts’ exhortation.

He’s written widely on the relationship between intelligence and creativity, coining the term “successful intelligence” to convey the idea that achievement comes not necessarily from IQ scores and education, but from what he calls the “WISC” model of liberal education – Wisdom, Intelligence, and Creativity Synthesized. You can read about him here.

Wisdom, Intelligence, and Creativity Synthesized: these are perhaps the things I should be looking out for next time I stand in front of that basketball hoop with ball in hand, wondering what to count next.

But in the meantime, just check out THESE figures!

DayAttemptsNear MissesBasketsEffort (Baskets/ Attempt)Baskets/ Minute (BPM)FeelGood FactorTotal timeTotal ShotsTotal BasketsSuccess rate
1N/A08N/A0.308N/A268
21940157.73%0.577N/A5219423
31898721.06%0.07746.03%78383256.5%
419010773.68%0.26956.32%104573325.6%
5192105115.73%0.42354.69%130765435.6%
616710863.59%0.23164.67%156932495.3%
7174114148.05%0.53865.52%1821,106635.7%
9180108168.89%0.61560.00%2341,286634.9%
101661181810.84%0.69271.08%2601,452795.4%
111811212011.05%0.76966.85%2861,633975.9%
121761152413.64%0.92365.34%3121,8091176.5%
131791112413.41%0.92362.01%3381,9881417.1%
141761251910.80%0.73171.02%3642,1641607.4%
151671013219.16%1.23160.48%3902,3311928.2%
16147903523.81%1.34661.22%4162,4782279.2%
171541023724.03%1.42366.23%4422,63226410.0%

You can find out why I’m taking the 2.6 Basketball Challenge here  Any help you can offer is much appreciated!.

Author: drnicko

Cultural Architect

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