THE GAME: Node Links

node garden

image courtesy of Jared Tarbell

1. Vook. Adding a fresh spin on the centuries old medium of books, Vook is a multimedia hybrid that mashes up text, audio, video, photos and social media into a format  tailored for today’s internet browsers, e-readers and mobile devices.

2. Rhodes Scholar and NFL prospect, Myron Rolle’s upcoming NFL draft status is taking a hit because he may be considered too smart for his own good. The thinking goes that the NFL personnel people want players who are focused only on football. Unfortunately for Rolle, his aspirations to become a neurosurgeon if/when his NFL playing days are over may drag his draft value down. A neurosurgeon who plays elite level football? Rolle would be perfect fit for THE GAME.

3. The ultimate database of all the world’s stadiums. The database includes over 10,000 stadiums from over 223 countries.

4. Goal Line Blitz is an engrossing new online American football MMORPG that allows you to create and develop players as well as manage a team’s entire operations; from concessions to trading and signing players.


5. Life in the Multiverse. A fascinating article from the January 2010 issue of Scientific  American (paywall) examining the theory of a multiverse, multiple universes—each with their own laws of physics and perhaps each with their own forms of life—originating from the same primordial vacuum. Photo courtesy of jurvetson.

Top 10 All-Time Multi-Sport GAME Athletes to Build Your Team Around

THE GAME consists of many competitive nodes that can transition into/out of each other through the action of its participants. For instance, a rugby league player could receive a pass and then carry the rugby ball into/out of an American football game; playing under American football rules or hybrid rules. Likewise, an American football player could carry an American football and then enter into a rugby league match; playing under rugby league rules or hybrid rules. In these examples, the movement of players across the boundaries/rules of their sports link American football and rugby league together, enabling the formation of entirely new competitive GAME nodes.

THE GAME places a premium on participants who are versatile and who can perform multiple roles across many competitive nodes. For competitive nodes from sports and recreation, athletes who excel in multiple sports and who can transition in/out of these sports effortlessly are key building blocks when building GAME teams. Here is our list of the top ten all-time multi-sport GAME athletes to build your team around:

10. Charlie Wardcharlie ward

A three-sport star, Ward played point guard in the NBA from 1994 to 2005 (mostly with the New York Knicks), won the 1993 Heisman Trophy and 1993 National Championship as the quarterback for Florida State University, and was, despite playing no college baseball, drafted as a pitcher by Major League Baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers in 1993 and the New York Yankees in 1994. A respected leader on the court/field, Ward’s leadership skills became useful in the node of politics when Ward served as Student Government Vice-President in his senior year at Florida State.

9. John Elwayjohn elway

Considered to be one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play in  the NFL, Elway played in five Super Bowls, winning two in 1997 and 1998. Noted for his arm strength, elusiveness and clutch playmaking ability, Elway also excelled on the baseball diamond. As a pitcher/outfielder, he was drafted out of high school by the Kansas City Royals and eventually become the first pick of the New York Yankees in 1981 while at Stanford University. Elway remains the only athlete to be drafted in the first-round of Major League Baseball’s draft and be the number one overall pick of the NFL draft (1983). After his professional playing career, Elway went on to establish himself in the business world, becoming co-owner of the Arena Football League team Colorado Crush, owner of two steakhouses in the Denver area and owner of auto dealerships in California and the Denver-area.

8. Dave Winfielddave winfield

Standing at a burly 6’6” 235 pounds, Winfield’s accomplishments as a baseball player are well documented. A fearsome slugger, Winfield finished with career averages of .283 / 3,110 H / 465 HR / 1,883 RBI. Winfield was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001. As an overall athlete, Winfield was equally accomplished. At the University of Minnesota, Winfield starred in basketball and baseball. Following college, Winfield was drafted by four teams in three different sports. The San Diego Padres selected him as the fourth overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft and both the Atlanta Hawks (NBA) and the Utah Stars (ABA) drafted him. Although Winfield never played college football, the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings selected him in the NFL draft.

7. Bob Hayesbob hayes

The only athlete to ever win an Olympic gold medal and a Super Bowl ring, Hayes is perhaps the fastest man on this list. Hayes was an accomplished Olympic sprinter before transitioning to pro football as an NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys. Hayes’ sprinting accomplishments included winning the 100m and 4x100m relay gold medals at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. A three-time NFL Pro Bowl selection, Hayes won a Super Bowl ring in 1972.

6. Jackie Robinson

Portions courtesy of Wikipedia

jackie-robinsonkauffmanAs the first African-American Major League Baseball player of the modern era, Robinson ended nearly sixty years of segregation in professional baseball in 1947. The cultural impact of his baseball career and the role it played in the subsequent Civil Rights Movement has, at times, overshadowed his many remarkable achievements in the worlds of sports, politics, business, philanthropy and broadcast media. Prior to his professional baseball career, Robinson was a standout athlete at UCLA, becoming the school’s first athlete to win varsity letters in four sports: baseball, basketball, football and track. After UCLA, Robinson played semi-pro football before playing professionally in the Negro Leagues. When Robinson was eventually called up to the major leagues, Robinson played an exceptional ten seasons with the Brooklyn Dodgers, playing in six World Series, and winning in 1955. After his baseball career, Robinson became the first African-American television analyst in Major League Baseball, and the first African-American vice-president of a major American corporation (Chock full o’Nuts). In the 1960s, he helped establish the Freedom National Bank, an African-American-owned/controlled entity based in Harlem, New York.

5. Deion Sandersdeion sanders

A nine-time Pro Bowl selection, Sanders is one of the greatest cover cornerbacks and return men to have ever played in the NFL. Sanders also excelled as an outfielder in Major League Baseball. He still remains the only man to have won a Super Bowl (1995 and 1996 with the Dallas Cowboys) and a World Series (1992 with the Atlanta Braves). Prior to his professional career, Sanders was a three sports star at Florida State University, participating in football, baseball and track. On one occasion at Florida State, Sanders played the first game of a baseball doubleheader, ran a leg of a 4x100 meter relay, then returned to play the second game of the doubleheader. In 1998, Sanders accomplished a similar feat when he hit a home run playing for the New York Yankees and scored a touchdown playing for the Atlanta Falcons in the same week, the only player to ever do so.

4. Bo Jackson

Blessed with a rare blend of brute power and world-class speed (Jackson ran a 4.12, 40 yard dash, still considered the fastest verifiable 40 time at an NFL Combine), Jackson’s meteoric rise as a star running back in football and a star outfielder in baseball ended just as suddenly with a football career-ending injury sustained in a playoff game in 1991. Although his careers in baseball and football were relatively brief, during his peak years from 1987 to 1990, the quality of his work during this time is remarkable. As the 1985 Heisman Trophy winner out of Auburn University, Jackson was the number one overall pick in the 1986 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Spurning the NFL for baseball, Jackson signed with the Kansas City Royals. With his draft rights forfeited by Tampa Bay, the Los Angeles Raiders selected him the following year in the 1987 NFL Draft with the understanding that Jackson would complete the baseball season and join the Raiders midway through the NFL season. From 1987 to 1990, Jackson was named a Major League Baseball All-Star and All-Star Game MVP in 1989, and an NFL Pro-Bowler in 1990. If Jackson had remained healthy in both sports and produced at the same high level for another five to ten years, he would have been in the top two of this list.

3. Babe Didrikson Zahariasdidrikson

Portions courtesy of Wikipedia

Despite being the only woman on our list, Zaharias easily holds her own against the men with her impressive resume of abilities and accomplishments. The sportswriter Grantland Rice once said of her, "The Babe is without any question the athletic phenomenon of all time, man or woman." She was a singer and harmonica player (recording several songs for Mercury Records), vaudeville performer, a champion seamstress, a basketball player, a baseball and softball player, a roller-skater, bowler, diver, cyclist, pocket billiard player, archer and Olympic champion. Zaharias won gold medals in the 80 meter hurdles and the javelin throw and a silver medal in the high jump at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. By 1935, looking for her next athletic challenge, Zaharias began to play golf and eventually became the first female golf celebrity and the leading player of the 1940’s and early 1950’s. By 1950, Zaharias had won every golf title in existence, bringing her amateur and professional victory total to 82 golf tournaments. Zaharias had her greatest year of golf in 1950 when she completed the Grand Slam of the three women’s majors of the day, the U.S. Open, the Titleholders Championship and the Western Open. That year she became the fastest LPGA golfer to ever reach 10 wins, doing so in one year and 20 days, still a record to this day. Sadly in 1956, at the age of 45, her life was cut short by colon cancer and all were left to wonder what other amazing feats could have been accomplished.

2. Jim Brown

jim brown

Regarded as the best professional football player of all-time, Brown set a then-career NFL rushing record in only nine years with the Cleveland Browns (1957-1965). Prior to becoming the number one overall pick in the 1957 NFL draft, Brown excelled in football, basketball, track and lacrosse at Syracuse University. At Syracuse, Brown became an All-American in lacrosse and is widely considered to be the best lacrosse player to have ever played. Because of his many athletic accomplishments, Brown has the rare honor of being in the NFL Hall of Fame, the College Football Hall of Fame and the Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Retiring at the peak of his career, Brown went on to make his mark as an actor (The Dirty Dozen, 100 Rifles) and as a social activist (Amer-I-Can).

1. Jim Thorpejim thorpe

Considered by many as the most versatile athlete in modern sports, Thorpe excelled in American football, collegiately and professionally; played Major League Baseball, professional basketball, and won the 1912 Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon. Thorpe’s many accomplishments earned him induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, College Football Hall of Fame, and the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. In 1950, Thorpe was recognized by the Associated Press as the greatest athlete of the first half of the twentieth century and in 1999, the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution honoring Thorpe as “America’s athlete of the century”.

There is a noticeable absence of international athletes on this list. If you know of any international athletes who excelled at a high level across multiple sports and who should be included in this list, please let us know by leaving your suggestions and comments. This list will be updated periodically to reflect any of these future changes and/or suggestions. Thanks for your interest and for participating.

Hybrid Nodes: Usain Bolt vs. Chris Johnson in the Context of THE GAME

Usain BoltChris Johnson



Updated 5/15/10

For a moment, it looked like this race would happen. But, apparently  a disagreement over the distance killed the proposed race between Jamaican Olympic sprinter and multiple world record holder Usain Bolt and Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson to determine the world’s fastest human; Johnson wanted to run 60 yards or less and Bolt wanted to run a longer race.

Bolt won three gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, setting world records in the 100 meters and 200 meters and sharing a third world record with the Jamaican 4x100 meter relay team. At last year's world championships, he shattered both of his own sprinting world records, running the 100 meters in 9.58 seconds and the 200 meters in 19.19 seconds. Bolt is widely considered the fastest man in the world…

Watch Usain run really fast.

Chris Johnson begs to differ.

During 2009, Johnson became the NFL's sixth 2,000-yard rusher when he completed his season with 2,006, breaking Earl Campbell's franchise record of 1,934. The second-year back from East Carolina also broke Marshall Faulk's NFL single-season record with 2,254 total yards from scrimmage.

At the 2008 NFL scouting combine, Johnson was timed in the 40 yard dash at 4.24 seconds -- the fastest time clocked at the combine that year.

Jimson Lee wrote a very interesting article in comparing the different physical demands of a 40 yard dash versus a 100 meter sprint and how one cannot just look at a sprinter’s split time to extrapolate their 40 time. Lee explains:

In the 100m, you accelerate as long as possible to reach top speed, then maintain top speed. You want to cover the distance in the shortest possible time.

The 40 yard dash is similar:  your goal is to get to the 40 yard line as fast as possible from a motionless position. You have to overcome inertia, then reach top speed as fast as possible.

The “problem” is World class sprinters take longer to reach top speed because they have a longer acceleration phase.  (In reality, the “problem” is a nice thing to have, right?)

Novice 100m runners and female sprinters will reach their top speed sooner, so more of their race will be speed endurance (NOTE to Coaches – worry less about their reaction time and starting blocks, and focus on acceleration and speed endurance. Why work on improving 0.10 seconds when you can improve 1.0 seconds?)

It’s really unfair to use their actual 100 meter race splits and extrapolate their 40 yard dash time AS THEIR TRUE POTENTIAL. Why?  Because the extrapolated 40 yard dash time is merely an extrapolation or "split en route" to a 100 meters.

Everyone is familiar with the different phases of a 100 meter sprint:  reaction time, acceleration, transition, maintenance.

Based on the real splits, especially the 30-40m split where the 40 yard lies, they have yet to reach their top end speed.

But what would happen if they "trained seriously" for the event and reached their top speed earlier?

What if Ben Johnson or Usain Bolt trained to run the 40 yard dash (or 36.6 meter dash) as if it was a real event? Some Most football players treat the 40 yard dash as if it were a real event. A good or bad 40 yard dash time can make or break a football combine.

And finally, what if you subtracted 0.24 from their FAT time to downward convert it to a hand time?

We are looking at 3.9 to 4.0 hand time performances!

In my example, we are ASSUMING world class sprinters can reach top speed at 30m, and not between 50-60 meter mark.

(Editor’s note: “Ben”=Ben Johnson; “Carl”=Carl Lewis; “Mo”=Maurice Greene; “Tim”=Tim Montgomery; “Asafa”=Asafa Powell; etc.)

Fantasy League 40 yard dash for Ben Johnson Usain Bolt

Thus, to calculate a true 40 yard dash potential:

  • reaction time is not considered
  • the 0-10m segment is the same as the 100 meters (Phase 1)
  • the 10-20m segment is an average speed of the 10-30m segment in a 100m (Phase 2)
  • the 20-30m segment is an average speed of the 30-50m segment in a 100m (Phase 3)
  • the last 6 meter segment is a pro-rated speed of their top end speed (50-60m) in a 100m (Phase 4)

You can mix and match the distances and phases around to add up to 40 yards. The chart is a fun illustration for discussion purposes. If the 4 phases are equal, then I would calculate using 9.15m splits to equal 36.6 meters.

GAME Context. So what is the point of going through this mental exercise of who is the fastest? I have to admit personal curiosity is a big reason. Most people I asked, wanted to see this race and it’s easy to see why.

Speed is a fundamental metric used when comparing athletes in almost any athletic endeavor; especially when comparing athletes from different sports. Theo Walcott could the fastest footballer in the world, but could he beat Bryan Habana, arguably the fastest rugby union player in the world? Could any of them beat Bolt or Chris Johnson? We don’t see athletes from different sports performing with or against each other, so fundamental questions like “who is the fastest athlete in the world” will always exist.

Addressing such questions is partly the reason why THE GAME matters.

There is no context nor platform that currently exists in which questions such as “who is the ___est” can be assessed, much less answered. The goal for THE GAME is to become a universal platform in which (at least in this example, athletic) talent can be compared to other talent no matter what the nodes are.

So, what are nodes? Here’s an excerpt from a previous article on the subject:

The building blocks of THE GAME are nodes. The concept of the node has evolved over time, but the essence of the node and its role in THE GAME has not changed. In its most basic form, nodes are the individuals/groups, places, objects/things, ideas, traditions, discussions, created works, competitions, etc. that are found in cultures and remixed by those in the cultures. THE GAME borrows these nodes; reshaping or “tweaking” them to fit into, if not already, the context of a competition. Nodes enable groups and individuals to create and continually transform the content of THE GAME competition(s).

When an existing competitive or cultural node has been integrated into THE GAME, it is transformed into a GAME node (or G node) which can in turn be spun back into cultures for consumption and/or reintegrated into THE GAME. This process allows THE GAME to recombine and mashup its contents and perpetually reshape and transform itself.

On the surface, it seems THE GAME would be difficult to follow and participate in since it appears to be in a state of constant flux. However, THE GAME is like an expanding universe in that at its center are an interconnected network of known nodes and known G nodes that remain relatively unchanged (and have an established following). On the frontiers of the expanding universe, THE GAME can recombine its constituent nodes and/or create newer nodes and newer G nodes from existing nodes or nothing at all. People could choose to follow certain sections of the “established” GAME or follow the “fringes” of THE GAME where new nodes and G nodes are being developed and integrated….

A mixed node can be a blend of two or more separate nodes forming an entirely new blended (hybrid) node or a linked node consisting of two or more nodes that are not completely blended but exist in two simultaneous forms—their constituent nodes and the new node created by linking, but not completely integrating the constituent nodes (preserving the integrity of the constituent nodes).

Using this framework of nodes and G nodes, in what ways can Usain Bolt, Chris Johnson, Theo Walcott, Bryan Habana and whomever else, “play together” or against each other by linking up, but not completely blending their respective nodes together?

Here’s a preliminary framework for one option using our, now familiar, American football and sprinting nodes:

1. sprint zones on the wings: running parallel to the football field lengthwise and on either side (wings) of the football field are sprint lanes (zones).

If a GAME team decides to score bonus points by utilizing its sprinters in the sprint zones on the wings, the football unit must time its play so a mesh point between a sprinter and football player is executed immediately after the sprinter crosses his sprint finish line, and while staying in his lane and maintaining top-end speed, receives the football (via a forward pass, handoff or pitch) or a baton in a 20 meter “catch zone”. For a sprinter to score for his GAME football team, he must cross the finish line of the “catch zone” first.

In this linked node, sprinters have a dual role in the sprint zones on the wings. Their man focus is winning their sprint race (and be the first person to cross the finish line); their secondary focus is to immediately transition into a receiver after crossing the finish line (and be the first person to cross the “catch zone” finish line) in order to score the maximum number of points for their GAME football team.

Each sprinter in the race is assigned points through a yet to be determined point value system that factors in the sprinter’s lane assignment (the further the sprint lane is from the football field the more points are awarded) and their personal “point index” (determined by a sprinter’s record for his sprint season). The winner of the race will give his GAME team the number of points determined by the point value system. The other sprinters in the race will serve as additional receiver options for the offensive team or sprint defenders (the sprinters defenders must stay in their lane and not interfere with catching the football, however). Pregame heats will determine the number of sprint receivers and sprint defenders the GAME teams will have in the sprint races on the wings.

2. sprint relays (transition from a football to a sprint relay baton): clearly marked and delineated inter-nodal transition zones between football fields and sprint tracks are positioned for 4 x 100 meter relays, 4 x 400 meter relays, 4 x 800 meter relays, etc. A sprinter will start with a baton in a relay race. Mesh points between sprinters and football wideouts, W or B will occur only on certain parts of the field of play. A team will therefore only have a limited number of opportunities to pull off the handoff between sprinting and football nodes. One scenario can be as follows:

-handoff #1: sprinter #2 enters an inter-nodal transition zone; on a predetermined playcall, the sprinter will drop the baton and take a football handoff from a streaking W or B. The proposed football, using an advanced computer chip and air cell technology, will transform its shape into a baton when in the transition zone. The defenders on the W or B on the field and transition zones are not allowed to defend against the sprinters (in other words impede their progress) in the sprint lanes. Only sprinters can be defenders against sprinters.

-handoff #2: sprinter #2 hands off the football baton to sprinter #3

-handoff #3: sprinter #4 takes the final handoff and streaks to the finish line. His sprint relay team must finish in the top three for his GAME football team to receive any points. The points awarded would be determined by the rules of the linked node.

The GAME flow in option one: Transitional handoffs to a sprinter are an opportunity to collect more points on the same drive for a GAME team. A GAME football team may decide to handoff to a GAME sprinter or a relay team who may ultimately finish first. The team represented by the winning sprinter(s) will be awarded the maximum points allowed for a successful transition. However, when a GAME team chooses to transition to a sprinter, its football team will lose a down and the football will be marked at the spot of the attempted transitional handoff. Even if its sprinters lose a race, the football team, assuming they are not out of downs, can continue its football drive from the point of the ball’s spot for points.

A sprint team’s goal is to finish first in their node race and then get points for their GAME team. The sprinter’s primary focus is his sprinting. If a transitional handoff fails between a sprinter and football player, the sprinter can remain alive in his race (if the football baton is dropped in the “transition zone” or “catch zone” the sprint race or sprint relay baton remains alive). The key: the SC, QB, ThB, W and/or B must hit the sprinter with a pass, handoff or pitch while the sprinter is in full stride.

The option one systems are perfect for sprinters with football backgrounds. Some notable athletes that could fit these types of systems include Ron Brown, Rocket Ismail, Herschel Walker, Willie Gault, Renaldo Nehemiah, Bob Hayes, Jim Thorpe, Sam Graddy and Ted Ginn, Jr..

Here’s option two still using our examples of American football and sprinting nodes:

Option two involves node mesh points between sprinters and football players without utilizing a direct exchange between these athletes. This is the preferred mode of exchange between sprinters and football players when the sprinter does not have a background in football.

One scenario can be as follows:

A football team scores a touchdown and now has several extra point options: attempt a 2 point conversion, kick an extra point or its sprinter wins a sprint contest to receive an additional 4 points (or however many points the particular linked node awards) to their total. When the offensive team scores a touchdown, the sprinters must get ready to race. The composition of the sprint field is determined by prerace/pregame heats. The scoring team may have as many as 3 (or as mentioned before, as many sprinters as the rules of a particular hybrid node allows) sprinters in the field. Each sprinter can only be used once in each quarter so a stable of sprinters should always be at the ready to keep everyone fresh. A team can have a certain number of sprinters representing them per event and the sprinters will go though prerace/pregame heats to determine how many will advance to the final heats 
(during the Game). The opposing team will have its sprinters go through the exact same process. The sprinting defenders will defend the 4 point conversion try by trying to win the sprint race. If the sprinters for the defending GAME team wins the race, the 4 point conversion attempt will have failed for the team scoring the touchdown and the scoring team will be awarded no extra points.

It is anticipated that GAME teams will be allowed a certain amount of salary space for their stable of sprinters. By having a salary cap, GAME teams with less capital can compete with GAME teams with more resources and prevent a small number of well financed teams from hording the world’s elite sprinters.

Option three could utilize “hot spots” located anywhere on the football field. Receivers must catch the football in these designated “hot spots” to have a chance for their sprinter(s) to run as in option two. To “activate” its sprinters, a GAME football team must hit a receiver in a “hot spot” and score on that same drive.

Remember this is only a preliminary framework of various options and more details will be needed to officially launch these Games. In related future posts we will include more diagrams, pictures and details outlining these options. In the meantime we will reference this post on THE IdeaBOARD for continued planning and discussion.


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