We’re Going Streaking!

Posted: March 7, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

by Paul Gaszak, English Faculty

If you haven’t heard, the Chicago Blackhawks are off to a historic start. After 24 games, they have yet to lose a game in regulation, which is an NHL record for consecutive games with a point to start the season.

(Also historically, I am bad luck for sports teams, which means the Hawks will lose now that I’ve mentioned this.)

During this streak, ESPN’s Waddle & Silvy have started all discussions of this accomplishment by playing the sound clip from Old School of Will Ferrell’s character yelling, “We’re going streaking!”

The Blackhawks have been a hot topic in sports, because streaks are recognized and celebrated in athletics. From a positive perspective,  it is difficult to be consistently successful without fail. Like the Hawks, the NBA’s Miami Heat are also notably on a 16 game win streak right now. And sports history has many famous streaks, like Cal Ripken Jr.’s consecutive starts streak and Joe DiMaggio’s hit streak.

There are also negative streaks, most infamously in Chicago is the Cubs inability to win the World Series since 1300 BCE when Moses was batting cleanup for them.

Our fascination with streaks is not just confined to sports, though. People talk streaks everyday. We may note how long we’ve gone without taking a sick day at work. We may brag (and flex) about how many consecutive days we’ve hit the gym. Sometimes it gets ridiculous like counting off the number of days in a row we’ve done something common: cooked at home, eaten the same leftovers, watched a movie.

Personally, I have several streaks going right now:

  • Consecutive weeks with a post on The Flaneur’s Turtle. I hope to carry this through all of 2013. I’ll then hold a press conference and retire from the Turtle in early 2014 – only to un-retire 14 times like Brett Favre.
  • Consecutive days of being Polish. I thought this streak was broken for a minute when I discovered how much I like Irish beer and Mexican food, then someone informed me that taste buds alone cannot alter my family heritage.
    • Also, note that this is a personal record and not a world record.
  • Consecutive days without rhythm. Every now and then, I can break out some amazing dance moves. But it has been a while.

Why do we recognize streaks, both good and bad? It seems to stem from the sense that consistency is hard. Doing something well without failing is impressive; doing something poorly without lucking into an ounce of success seems improbable.

I’m only half convinced of my conclusion, so I welcome further suggestions from the Turtle community as to why we love streaks. (And this now breaks my streak of times I was convinced by my own conclusions.)

  1. anonymous says:

    Outliers by Malcolm gladwell might apply here.

  2. Trish says:

    The Blackhawks’ loss is on your head! Oy!

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