Strange But True: Time

How much action does a sports fan get for his money? A few years ago a man named W. Nicholas Kerbway decided to find out with the aid of a stopwatch.

First he timed the action in several Detroit Tigers baseball games. The stopwatch was set moving on each pitch, and then stopped when the catcher returned the ball to the pitcher. On a hit ball, the watch ran until the play was over.

In four Tigers games, the action took a total of 43 minutes 27 seconds, an average of less than 11 minutes per game.

Then Kerbway used the same stopwatch methods to measure the action time in football games. Kerbway found that there were 13 minutes 20 seconds of action in a pro game, 11 minutes 45 seconds in a college game, and 9 minutes 20 seconds in a high school game.

If Kerbway had continued his researches, he would have found higher figures or such sports as basketball, hockey and soccer where the ball (or puck) is in play for longer periods of time. And he would have found at least one sport with even less action than high school football. In golf, the ball is in play for only a few seconds on each shot!

From The Giant Book of Strange But True Sports Stories by Howard Liss. Illustrations by Joe Mathieu.

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When you can walk its length, and leave no trace, you will have learned.


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