I frequently enjoy idea-based science fiction- stories that extrapolate both on a technology trend as well as social phenomena to imagine some future.
In sports, I find several very interesting trends to extrapolate on: 1. The very sophisticated use of data science and statistics; 2. sports betting; 3. the extreme medicalization of sports and rehab. In the following speculative fiction piece I take these three trends to their laughable extreme. Maybe I will try to publish this somewhere if I can find an outlet interested in humorous sci-fi pieces written as future news articles. Hmm.
Premier League 2034
Associated Press. Continuously updated.
Arsenal secured a 3-1 victory yesterday over rival Chelsea to stay atop the Premier League Rankings. Play began, then following a bad pass from Chelsea forward Alex Soriritcy after four minutes of play, Arsenal captain Roger Mitric’s shot on goal narrowly missed the upper crossbar.
Betting markets sharply swung at 9 minutes of play when Chelsea star Ricardo Mario was fairly tackled at midfield. Mario showed an immediate and strong cortical and adrenal spike with corresponding EEG suggesting a grade 2 or grade 3 re-injury of his right hamstring. Mario was taken off the field with significant limping. Chelsea’s odds of reclaiming the Premier League Championship fell to 1:15 immediately after the play following a pre-season high of 1:6.
Chelsea could only convert once in the first half despite accumulating three statistical goals following a brilliant penalty kick save by Arsenal keeper Sardar Taremi off an Arsenal handball in the 23rdminute of play. Chelsea did convert off a post ricochet from Soriritcy that went right to fullback John Silva for an easy put back in the 31st minute.
Attempt to Interfere was signaled in the 39th minute following triangulation of a portable ultrasonic weapon disguised as a pair of binoculars held by an assailant posing as a spectator on the pitch. The intended target was Chelsea back Silva and the attack was successful in inducing temporary vertigo and tinnitus in Silva. The attack was promptly identified through security software and the perpetrator lead away by security with Silva signaling he was ok to play following three minutes of stoppage. Facial recognition indicates the perpetrator has association with known sports betting syndicates with the police not releasing further details as of the moment you are reading this sentence.
Chelsea entered halftime with a 1-0 lead. After half-time, betting markets raced to new equilibria as the second half began with the Chelsea squad showing a team glucose composite below season normal with similarly high levels of lactic acid indicating fatigue was setting in for The Blues on a 35 C day with a relative humidity of 40% pushing the heat index up to 40 C.
Arsenal converted on a cross at 52 minutes following a header into the nylon past Chelsea keeper by Genki Honda. It was Honda’s first goal in Premier League play after being brought out of stasis in March.
More than 10 minutes later of back-and-forth football, Chelsea back Silva was initially awarded a penalty shot at 65 minutes following an indicated collision with Arsensal defender Malik N’Diaye. However statistical replay reversed the call and found Silva took a dive when less than 30 newton-seconds of force was calculated on the play – not half enough to cause Silva’s total positional change when vector forces were analyzed. Market reaction was swift and punishing for The Blues and Silva was booked with a yellow card with great protest from the Chelsea fans.
At 76 minutes, Chelsea defender Oumar Rowland had a costly own-goal when trying to clear a dangerous Arsenal attack. Neural patterns indicated lack of intent and the play was judged an error albeit a devastating one for The Blues.
Following a collective dopamine surge on taking their first lead, Arsenal team neurochemistry finally moved into a flow state and they never looked back with excellent passing and ball control from then on out. Markets all but signaled the game was over at 80 minutes. The final goal by Arsenal captain Mitric at 85 minutes was set up by a dejected and fatigued Chelsea defense who needed an average of 1 Liter per defender on IV drip of Ringer’s lactate solution following the game in addition to oral rehydration.
Five minutes of total stoppage time was added with Arsenal remaining perfectly below the statistical threshold for a delay of game call with their optimally evasive gameplay.
Next up for Arsenal is Liverpool in Islington. Chelsea plays Leicester City at home.