(Last updated: October 20, 2022)
Tackling My Sports Addiction and Playing the NameGame
by DR Wolfe
Before I teach you how to play the NameGame I’ll tell you a little about the way I over came an unhealthy sports addiction, and substituted the NameGame for my love for statistics. I believe it’s not the sports that interests most people, unless it’s women’s beach vollegball, but the statistics.
Despite my visual impairment, as a young boy I was drawn to baseball. I couldn’t play the game because I couldn’t see the moving ball, although I did wrestle and run track in high school.
It was the statistics that came on the back of every baseball card that caught my attention. It drew me like a kid to cotton candy. And I suspect there were millions of other kids like me. So I started playing this game, comparing the statistics on the back of each cards. Then I would use the scoring system we used in track and field and figure out the score for each team as they played a short schedule.
As I grew older, around twelve or thirteen , I became interested in basketball. hockey and football and started reading the sports section every day. It wasn’t the article that interested me, but rather the box scores that fascinated me most. And that’s probably why I became pretty good in mathematics.
However, what may have been a healthy interest in the game became an every day obsession, even though there was no Internet at the time, Despite my failing vision My need to gather information about sports began interfering with the other interactive things I should have been doing with my life, like playing piano and guitar or reading a book. Rather than gathering useful information, I was spending much of my time either talking about or watching sports. And even when I could no longer see the television, even from close up, I continued to glue myself to the TV for another decade, pretending to watch the game.
But luckily the sports world provided me with more than enough good reasons to dislike sports, but it took several decades to kicked in. What happened was that I began to notice that the sports talk morons, the broadcasters, the owners and in some cases, even the players were sick people and didn’t care about the fans.
The announcers and sports talk people would always talked about the home team, but I noticed hardly ever was a player from the same city where they grew up. And when a home town kid returned home to play for the home town team, they would take off in a couple years for better money. There was no team loyalty, although they always pretended this was the case.
You probably know about this, but In 1984 there was this amazing home run race between two players, Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa. When it happened There was rumors that they were using steroids, but nothing was conclusive. So most fans believed these were clean home runs. Two decades later we learned it was all a big fat fraud and they were using human growth hormones. McGuire, Sosa, and later Barry Bonds all admitted to using steroids to set their home run records.
Then there was this amazing cyclist named Lance Armstrong, who dated musical genius, Sheryl Crow. Armstrong was able to substantially beat every other cyclist in the world for over a decade. Since he was American we Americans put on our blinders and cheered, ignoring the allegations by other cyclists, including some Americans. They claimed Armstrong was using steroids, but he denied everything, and ESPN and the fans believed him.
In fact, Armstrong hired lawyers with his fraudulent winnings and his promotion money from the U.S. Postal Service to destroy several of his sharpest critics.
About ten years later while Armstrong was recovering from testicular cancer he admitted on national television it was all true.
Another big contention for fans was the lack of a playoff system. Every other sport had a playoff system that allowed the winner to be determined on the field, except college football. It all came down to the wealthy boosters who felt they would lose their opportunity to be wined and dined during the bowl celebrations if they allowed a playoff system to take over determining the champion.
Sometimes one of the bowl games matched up the two top ranked teams, but it was rare, which meant the broadcasters and writers picked the champion. Fans screamed bloody murder, demanding that the champion be determined on the field. But apparently these millionaire and billionaire boosters didn’t give a crap. So the debate raged on.
But consider this, the colleges and universities are providing a free training ground to the NFL and the NBA at the expense of the students, since there is no minor league in football or basketball. The colleges and universities are receiving absolutely nothing from these professional leagues and passing the costs of training their future athletes along to the students. So perhaps the NFL and the NBA should pay all outstanding student loans, that is until America creates an online four-year university that is free to everyone (with virtual football and basketball teams, and no fraternities or sororities).
In the 1990’s NFL owner Dan Snider stated emphatically that not in a million years would he ever change the name of the Washington franchise, even though every indigenous person on earth felt the nickname was extremely racists. But it didn’t matter. This Jewish billionaire and most of the politicians from Washington D.C. simply didn’t care that the nickname was offensive to Native people. The same people who were systemically genocided by the same government in Washington D.C. that rooted for the Redskins.
But the owners don’t care that this violent game injures most of the players for life, including brain injuries. Why our school districts would allow a violent game such as this to be played by kids makes no sense, where young pretty girls are subjugated to the side lines as cheerleaders and the boys perform as gladiators, bashing out their brains.
And that’s the point. The owners, the broadcasters and players simply don’t care about the fans, as much as they pretend. They want our money and time, and they’re willing to do anything to make this happen. but deep down they just don’t care what we think, as long as they get their bling. So why should we, the loyal fans, give a crap about the “home team!”
If you want to know more about the media and this sports addiction problem in America you can read chapter 11 in my autobiography “3 Americas: More Truth Than We Can Handle,”
Organized sports, be it college or professional, has no effect over your life as a fan. And you as a fan have no effect on the game, as much as we would like to believe. Besides, today not only can they chip the ball and control its bounce and flight, agitate the players with small shocks or itches, and manipulate the outcome of every game. It’s no longer necessary to bribe or blackmail the officials to change the outcome, without the fans ever knowing.
So worshiping a team is dumb, unless your kid is playing. You have no control over anything the players or coaches do, and it can really screw up your mood. We’re happy when our team wins, but we’re miserable when they lose. So why not avoid all that emotional crap and live a life without sports.
Besides, I’ll bet your partner would appreciate it if you came home one day and said “Honey, I’m going to give up all sports!”
I did it, so can you. And I’ll tell you how.
By now, knowing how impatient sports fans are, you’re probably asking how do you play the NameGame? Before I teach you to play the game, I’ll explain a few important concepts behind the game.
First, it’s mostly about adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing numbers. And using math whenever you play It will automatically build your memory skills and ability to compute numbers very quickly, which may come in handy. And if you love statistics it will draw you in, like no other game.
And the good news is that you don’t have to stare at a computer screen to play, like most video games. But you do have to use your brain, which will help prevent dementia. And as the computing becomes easier, you may find it is relaxing. Especially, if you like simple math puzzles, like me.
I use an abacus for most of the math, and it also serves as an active score board with running scors for each team, But a calculator or scratch paper will due just as well.
I predict if you play through four or five seasons of the game it will become addictive, but in a healthy way. For example,you can only play for about an hour or so before the brain begins to give out, just like the body.
First you don’t need a computer because you can also play this with index cards, a notebook and scratch paper, but myself, I prefer a computer because it’s sorts the folders automatically which is easier than sorting index cards. And it keeps me organized, as a blind person.
The important thing is not to cheat. Sure, it’s easy to cheat for your favorite team, and who’s going to tell or complain? You are the President of the League, and you make all the rules.
Many times through many different versions of the NameGame I would give my favorite teams a slight advantage. And I thought it would be better to play if I could find names that would score a lot of points. But there’s only 340 points available in each game to spread around, not including ties. So it you want to make it fun for a long time then don’t ever cheat, unless you really want to cheat. I promise I won’t tell. And decide all your rules before you start and pledge to never change the rules in the middle of the game, because I promise your subconcious will know and consider this cheating, and shut down your interest in the game.
Setting up teams:
Before telling you how I play the NameGame an hour or two per day, I’ll suggest how you can choose teams and tell you how I set up my league.
Let me say this first, everything I am suggesting is completely optional. There are only the rules you make and no one will ever know, unless you tell them. In fact, people may never know what you’re doing, working away on some kind of math problem. They will admire your diligence, working away doing math problems.
My league consists of 48 teams. 32 or 64 would probably work better, as far as the schedule goes. When I created the NameGame, I didn’t want to use the names of cities or universities as teams for my league. So I use the 48 contiguous states. which is easier to remember, and no greedy university lawyer can claim copyright infringement.
My league consists of an east and west regional , with six conferences in each region. This means every conference has four teams. which equals twelve conferences and two regions with 48 total teams
If you’re using a computer, first create a folder for all twelve conferences. Note the order isn’t the same as the one listed below. Then create four teams inside each conference folder for each teams.
It takes me about three to six weeks to play an entire season, depending on what else I’m doing and how interested I am.
You could change this, but in my version there are no home or away games, which means every game is played on a neutral field. And every match involves four teams, except the regionals, which has six teams competing from each regions. And the best two teams in each region advance to the championship.
If your league consisted of 32 or 64 teams you could avoid this problem of having six teams rather than four teams in the regional. Or if you only played duel matches between teams than how many teams in your league wouldn’t matter. The important thing is to create a history which will keep your interest if you enjoy tracking trends and following statistics.
The scheduling of games in my case is created using a random number generator on the computer but a single dice would work just as well.
The season beginning with the year 01 consists of eight weeks, which I labeled W1 through W8. You could add a ninth week if you wanted to play some sort of all-star game, but personally I like to exclusively keep players on their own teams whenever they compete, win or lose. A sort of loyalty you don’t get in what they call “real sports.”
In the first two weeks of the season I randomly select two teams from the east and two from the west. And I never select two teams from the same conference. This makes the first two weeks of the schedule as random as possible.
So you begin in the east and roll the dice. Since there are six conferences I number each conference. Then I roll the dice again, selecting the team one through four. If five or six is rolled , or created by the random number generator, I roll again. And if the confrence has already been selected for that week, I roll until I get a number I can use. Then I repeat this process for the two teams in the west. After twelve matches are scheduled and every team has been used, i go to the second week of the schedule, labeled “W2”..
The third week of the season involves teams from the same conference. For example, first four teams from the east ould play, and then four teams from the west. Again, I would make sure two teams in the same conference would not face each other until the conference championship, the 4th week.
So in the forth week I hold the twelve conference championships. Again, rotating between the east and the west, each conference would hold its championship and in the 5th week the top two teams would advance to a districts playoff against another conference geographically in the same region. And the two losing teams would play a consolation game against the same conference. Like the top two teams in the Far East would face the top two teams from the Northeast, and the two losers in the Far East and the Northeast would also face each other.
This ends the regular season with five games played in five weeks. Every team plays an equal number of games so you can compare the statistics of players and teams year to year. You may have an all-time scorer and a season scoring champion but they may not be the same player.
As I mentoned, the 6th week is the regionals. And this is when the rubber meets the road, since it’s more difficult to move on to the championship, since there are 36 players competing instead of 24 in each event. The best two teams move on to the championship, which is held the 7th week.
The 8th week of the schedule involves the four worst teams in the league, and they compete to not be the worst team in the league.
After entering all the final statistics for the season, I’m ready to start over and hold the draft for the next season.
In the NameGame all players have value and they keep their value throughout their six year career. There’s no chance of injury or suspension so the players can do what ever they want in their free time, and I would imagine they do.
Each player has value based on their name. Both alphabetically and numerically. Since players are listed with the last name first, the 1st event is the last name. All twenty-four players in each game are sorted alphabetically. Then like track and field, the first seven and the last seven players are ranked in each event and are given points based on how they finish.
For example, 1st place worth ten points goes to Adams, second place worth eight points goes to Almon, third place worth six points goes to Black, forth place worth four points goes to Butterfield, fifth place worth three points goes to Campbell, sixth place worth two points goes to Duncan, and seventh place worth one point goes to Evans.
Likewise in the lower division of the 1st event, 1st place goes to Williams, second place goes to Thomas, third place goes to Robinson, etc.
If there is a tie between two players, then similar to track and field the points are added together and the players split the points. A tie between the top two players would mean that they would each earn 9 points, by adding 10 plus 8 and then dividing by 2.
If there is a tie between more players, like the top seven, then you would add up all the points, 34, and divide by seven. And when four really bad teams compete I’ll warn you that there will be lots more ties.
Then you repeat this with the 2nd event matching up first names. If you’re using index cards you have to alphabetically sort them by first name. If you’re using a computer, the computer will automatically sort the names. I’ll explain how to set up the computer a little later.
The 3rd event involves counting the letters in the last name and repeating the sorting and scoring process.
The 4th event involves counting the letters in the first name. And the 5th and final event involves counting the letters in both the first and last name.
Getting the Names:
The list of names used in the NameGame must be random. In other words any source of names that lists the names alphabetically, like the old style phonebooks, won’t work. Since each season, except the first, you need 48 new names and taking the first 48 names from any alphabetical list may stop at the names beginning with B or C, and that’ won’t work.
I tried hundreds of lists in dozens of variations, and I finally found a list of books from a site exclusively provided to the Blind and reading impaired through the Library of Congress. Unfortunately, it’s not available to the general public. but this idea will work on other similar lists.
As I prepare for a new season, I copy the list of books, it first lists the title, the author, the reader, and finally a short description of the book. So it includes character names. And sometimes in the title there is also a name, and sometimes there can be several writers and readers listed
So beginning at the top of the page I begin selecting every name, with a few exceptions, and placing them with the appropriate team. I have a system that selects teams in a certain order and this order never changes.
So under the NameGame folder there is a folder called 01. And under the 01 folder I create a “01 Raw Names” folder. And in this folder I create folders for every player as follows:
Davis, Angela California 1Y
Fenwick, Dick Ohio 1Y
Oates, Bernie Washington 1Y
One of the exceptions to selecting names is names that only include one letter for the first name. If the name has two initials then I use it. Also if there are two or three names in a row with the same last name, then I usually pick the best name. And the same goes for people with two first names, I use the name that will score the most points.
Also in my game spaces and punctuation are not counted. For example, van Halen would be written and counted as “vanHalen=8” And St. James is written and counted as “StJames=7.” Of course you could count every character and space used, then in the third event van Halen would be worth 9 points and St. James would also be workth nine points.
The first year under my system you need to select 288 players, 6 players on 48 teams. As you go round by round the players are given a year, 1y through 6y, which indicates how many years they have been in the league. Consequently, players selected after the first round in this initial draft will not get an entire six year career.
For example, players selected in the last round will be given the designation 6y and only play one year, where the players selected in the first round are rookies and are given the designation 1y. The next season, in 02, each player’s year designation is incremented by one, and the player listed as 6y is posthumously retired.
Each year along with the top scorer there is an All-Pho Team that consists of the top six scorers in the league. You could also have all-conference teams, but you may find keeping to many records takes the fun out of the game. So only keep the critical records. The cool thing about the NameGame is that you can always go back and make more record, and replay match ups . or you can even have match ups of champions from different decades compete against each other.
I also have a Rookie of the Year, a Best Sixth Player award and a League MVP.
Along with the top four teams winning trophies by advancing to the championship, I also keep track of Most and least Points in a Season.
I have a master list of Raw Names that includes the names selected in each new season. Before assigning a name to a particular team, I always check to make sure the name hasn’t been used. While it’s easy to remember names after two or three years, it’s not so easy after ten years.
I also keep a list of individual scoring for every team, so I can keep track of the best all-time scorers for the league as well as each team.
Using the computer to create folders, that are inside of folders, which are inside of folder, I create a folder for every player and every team and the computer automatically sorts everything. Then in the folder for that particular team I create a team folder labeled (team name) players which includes the six folders of the players for that team. This is the important part, I create five folders for each event for that team with all six players.
So the 1st event is the same as the team player list. The 2nd event begins with the first name,
In the 1st event folder the players are listed alphabetically with the last name listed first, so the 1st event folder is the same as the master team folder.
In the second event, labeled 2nd, I copy the first name at the beginning and re-save the folder. For example, Chuck Woodson, Chuck Massachusetts 1y.
This way the computer automatically sorts the first names alphabetically.
In the third, forth, and fifth events the appropriate letters are counted and the number is listed first, so the computer automatically sorts it.
To begin the match I first copy the entire team folder for each of the four teams into the match folder. Instantly, the game is already played and it’s only a matter of counting up the points and awarding each player with the points scored. Then after all five events have been added up, I add up the scores for all six players and place that number at the beginning of the team folder.
Here’s an example of a typical match folder from the 1st week of the season, stored in the W1 folder of the 01 games folder:
68 Alabama Players
79 Florida players
92 Kansas players
112 Montana players
Montana 112, Kansas 92,Florida 79, Alabama 68
At the end of each match I transfer the folder with the team results into the team folder, and include at the beginning of each folder I write W1 through W7, indicating which week the game was played. Then there is a master folder with total team points and record.
Here’s an example of a team folder after a season has been completed:
541 15-0-0 Nevada players
W1 97 3-0-0 Nevada players
W2 123 3-0-0 Nevada players
W3 121 3-0-0 Nevada players
W4 105 3-0-0 Nevada players
W5 95 3-0-0 Nevada players
W6 79 5-0-0 Nevada players
W7 89 3-0-0 Nevada players
As you may have noticed there is a total points folder which includes the total points as well as the wins, losses and ties for Nevada’s regular season. and inside this folder is a list of each player’s total points for the season. Once you have these statistics for each team and each player you can create lists every week for the top scorers and the top teams in the conference, the region, and the league.
Note: In this diagram above, Nevada was undefeated in all of it’s matches, including winning the regionals and championship.
hopefully, I have given you enough information here to get you started playing the NameGame, and turn off that useless garbage on the sports channel. You don’t have to be a brain dead, powerless consumer of sports any more! Good luck.
(E mail me if you have any questions about playing the NameGame, and I can send you samples.)