Big news this week is the Caltech win over Occidental, breaking a string of 310 basketball losses in SCIAC league play dating to 1985. Widely covered in the national print, television and radio.
Each of the Caltech teams has similar challenges. Son Mark played soccer for three years and experienced four wins. I played baseball for a short while and we were in a streak of some sort. I see in the NY Times article today that the present baseball team is on a 412 game conference slide. Football is long gone from Caltech, but I have memories of our California Boulevard bonfire in celebration of what may have been the last win, circa 1972. (Ironically UCSD had abandoned football upon my arrival in 1973, the victim of that loss.)
This should bring a revival of interest in the documentary Quantum Hoops which chronicled how close the team came in 2006 to breaking the streak (and made me aware that the last conference win was over a Pomona-Pitzer team coached by Gregg Popovich and that my undergraduate advisor Fred Anson was considered the best Caltech basketball player ever). Dean Oliver, a late 80s point guard for the Beavers, became a statistical wizard for the Seattle Supersonics and is now with the Denver Nuggets. He is known for his book “Basketball on Paper”. And foremost I’m a huge fan of Fred Newman, a player in the 50s and later an assistant coach who holds the record for free throws made in 24 hours (20,371) and who drained 88 in a row blindfolded. (My personal record is 88, without blindfold.)
Secant, cosine, tangent, sine…logarithm, logarithm, hyperbolic sine…3 point 1 4 1 5 9…slipstick, sliderule, tech, tech, tech. Go Beavers!