WTF Fun Fact 13597 – Unique Perception of Soccer Goalkeepers

In the dynamic world of soccer, goalkeepers have always been seen as outliers. While they defend their posts, these players face the arduous task of making quick decisions under pressure, often with fragmented information. New research sheds light on the exceptional way goalkeepers perceive their surroundings, revealing significant differences in their multisensory processing capabilities.

Enhanced Multi-Sensory Processing of Soccer Goalkeepers

Michael Quinn from Dublin City University, himself a former professional goalkeeper, embarked on this study to validate a longstanding soccer belief. He, alongside his team, found that, unlike other players, goalkeepers have an intrinsic knack for making swift decisions. This is the case even when faced with limited sensory data. It’s not just a feeling within the soccer community; now, there’s scientific evidence supporting the notion that goalkeepers genuinely “see” the world differently.

In an innovative approach, Quinn and his team examined temporal binding windows among professional goalkeepers, outfield soccer players, and those who don’t play soccer. This window represents the time frame within which individuals combine sensory data from various sources.

A Deep Dive into the Goalkeeper’s Brain

The study had participants discern visual and auditory stimuli that appeared in different sequences and intervals. Interestingly, goalkeepers exhibited a more refined ability to discern these multisensory cues, indicating their superior estimation of timing. This precision stands in stark contrast to outfield players and non-players.

Furthermore, goalkeepers demonstrated less interplay between visual and auditory cues. This suggests they tend to separate sensory information rather than blending them. This unique ability stems from their need to process various cues simultaneously. The trajectory of a ball, combined with the sound it makes when kicked, are essential inputs for a goalkeeper’s split-second decision-making.

Origins and Future Explorations into the Perceptions of Soccer Goalkeepers

While the current findings illuminate the distinct perceptual world of soccer goalkeepers, the cause of these differences remains a mystery. Does intense, specialized training from an early age shape their multisensory processing? Or are inherent abilities leading young players to gravitate toward the goalkeeper position?

David McGovern, the study’s lead investigator, expressed curiosity about other specialized soccer positions. Could strikers or center-backs also exhibit unique perceptual tendencies? The team at Dublin City University aims to unravel these questions in subsequent studies. They will explore the development and influences on a goalkeeper’s extraordinary sensory processing capabilities.

 WTF fun facts


WTF Fun Fact 13412 – Competitive Trash Collecting

In Japan, an unexpected trend has taken hold: Competitive Trash Collecting.

Have you ever considered trash collection to be a high-octane, competitive sport? Probably not, but this isn’t just your run-of-the-mill cleaning drive – we’re talking about an adrenaline-fueled race against time with the goal of making Japan cleaner, one piece of trash at a time.

The pursuit of cleanliness

Japan is renowned for its cleanliness and orderly society, but competitive trash collecting? This concept adds a fresh and thrilling layer to Japan’s ongoing pursuit of cleanliness. So, buckle up and get ready for a wild ride into the world of trash collection gone extreme!

Now, let’s answer the burning question: What is competitive trash collecting? As highlighted in a feature on Yup That Exists (cited below), it’s a dazzling, fast-paced sport where teams compete to collect as much trash as possible within a set time frame. Picture it as a kind of “trash triathlon” – part race, part scavenger hunt, and all parts fun and community service.

What is competitive trash collecting?

The sport injects a dose of high energy and camaraderie into the otherwise mundane task of picking up trash. Teams, donned in matching outfits, dash about parks and public spaces, armed with trash grabbers and bags. Their goal? To collect more trash than their competitors before the clock runs out.

At its core, competitive trash collecting in Japan is a celebration of environmental stewardship. It’s a testament to the national ethos of cleanliness and respect for public spaces. It’s also a testament to Japan’s knack for turning anything into a challenge.

But the beauty of this sport extends beyond mere competition. It’s also about rallying communities around a shared cause, inspiring individuals to take ownership of their surroundings, and promoting environmental awareness in a fun, engaging way.

The social impact of this trend is not to be underestimated either. The competitive element provides a bonding experience for participants while raising public awareness about waste management. It’s a win-win – good for the environment, great for community spirit!

Why is this even a thing?

One might wonder, how did something so peculiar come about? Well, it seems the Japanese have an uncanny talent for blending tradition and innovation. Cleanliness and respect for one’s surroundings are deeply embedded in the culture. Throw in a dash of Japanese ingenuity, and you have a sport that’s just as exhilarating as it is eco-friendly!

In a world grappling with waste management issues, this initiative shines as a beacon of hope. Who knew that tackling trash could be turned into a sport? It’s a testimony to the spirit of the Japanese people – their respect for nature, their communal values, and their unyielding zest for innovation.

Moreover, competitive trash collecting has the potential to inspire global change. It paints a compelling picture of how citizens can come together, have fun, and simultaneously tackle pressing environmental issues.

So, as you contemplate the curious case of Japan’s competitive trash collecting, remember this: Japan didn’t just make a sport out of cleaning; they turned it into a celebration of community, a respect for nature, and an action-packed thrill ride. In the process, they’ve created a blueprint for how we might reimagine our approach to environmental stewardship.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “Japan has been promoting trash collecting as a competitive sport, and it’s actually kind of working” — YUP That Exists

WTF Fun Fact 13077 – The Origin of Bowling

Who knew the origin of bowling goes back thousands of years?! It could go back to over 5000 years, to be exact.

What is the origin of bowling?

According to the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame (cited below): “A British anthropologist, Sir Flinders Petrie, discovered in the 1930’s a collection of objects in a child’s grave in Egypt that appeared to him to be used for a crude form of bowling. If he was correct, then bowling traces its ancestry to 3200 BC.”

If Petrie’s assessment is inaccurate, bowling would still be many centuries old. It could go back to 300 AD Germany. At the latest, we know bowling was already popular in 1366 in England “A German historian, William Pehle, asserted that bowling began in his country about 300 AD. There is substantial evidence that a form of bowling was in vogue in England in 1366, “when King Edward III allegedly outlawed it to keep his troops focused on archery practice. And it is almost certain that bowling was popular during the reign of King Henry VIII.”

Variations on bowling

Of course, ancient and medieval bowling didn’t have the same technology as we do today. These games were variations on trying to hit pins with balls.

Immigrants from Germany, England, and the Netherlands all brought their own pin games to America, where lawn bowling became popular.

But bowling was rarely a wholesome sport. Aside from getting banned in England briefly in the 14th century, “An 1841 Connecticut law made it illegal to maintain ‘any ninepin lanes,’, probably because bowling was the object of much gambling.” By this time, New England mansions were already home to personal bowling lanes.

“While it is uncertain where the tenpin game evolved, by the late 1800s it was prevalent in many states such as New York, Ohio and as far “west” as Illinois. However, details like ball weights and pin dimensions varied by region. But that changed when restauratnteur Joe Thum finally pulled together representatives of the various regional bowling clubs. On September 9, 1895, at Beethoven Hall in New York City, the American Bowling Congress was born. Soon, standardization would be established, and major national competitions could be held.”

In 1914, we saw the first modern bowling balls in America. By 1952, we had automatic pin setters and bowling was becoming popular on television.  WTF fun facts

Source: “History of Bowling” — International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame

WTF Fun Fact 12414 – Betty Robinson Wins Again

You may not know the name Betty Robinson (or, perhaps, you do!), but she’s an Olympic success story for the ages – and a weird one at that.

Betty “Babe” Robinson grew up in a small town south of Chicago called Riverdale. She had many natural abilities, including running. She was fast.

Her Biology teacher, Charles Price, noticed how fast she was when he was her run down the hallway. He timed her, and after clocking her speed, he encouraged her to train with the boy’s track team a few towns over at Thornton Township High (there were no girl’s track teams in that area at the time).

She soon ran in regional events and kept pace with female US world record holders. After that, she was invited to join the Illinois Athletic Women’s Club. Then she beat the world record and moved on to the US Olympic trials.

In 1928, she was selected to represent the US in the Amsterdam Olympics, the first Olympics that allowed women to compete in track and field. She won gold in the 100m at the age of 16. At the time, she has only been running competitively for five months.

(A fun fact for those old enough to remember: Those were the same games in which swimmer Johnny Weissmuller competed. After that, he would go on to his iconic role as Tarzan!)

Babe Robinson returned to her country, state, and town a hero and continued to set records until one fateful day in 1931. Robinson wanted to cool off on a hot day, but her coach wouldn’t let her swim because he insisted it would interfere with her training. So she asked her cousin to take her flying in his small plane to get some reprieve from the heat. Then, disaster struck.

The plane took a nosedive into a field, and the wreckage indicated no survives among the mangled metal and bodies. The man who pulled her out assumed she was dead and put her in the back of his vehicle to drive her to the undertaker.

But she was alive (as was the pilot)! Unfortunately, Robinson suffered injuries to her head, hip, and arm – and badly broke a leg. She also had internal injuries and drifted in and out of a coma for days.

By all accounts, that should have ended her running career. After surgery to put a pin in her left leg, it was shorter than her right leg. She walked with a limp and was told her days of competition were over.

But Babe Robinson wasn’t about to let doctors tell her what was possible. She missed the 1932 Olympic Games but made the team again in 1936 when they were held in Berlin. She couldn’t run as fast, but it was still fast enough. The only problem was she was no longer physically able to crouch down in the starting position – something required of those running in the 100m race.

That’s when she decided to join the women’s 4x100m relay team, a race that didn’t require her to crouch. She was 24 years old and, at the time, the oldest member of the team. The Germans were heavily favored to win but got disqualified on a handover of the baton. Meanwhile, Robinson handed the baton off to Helen Stephens, who had just won the 100m (the race Robinson so dearly wanted to run in). The US team took the gold, and Robinson became a two-time gold medal winner after being assumed dead in that plane crash.

This time, her victory took a back seat to the amazing feats of runner Jesse Owens, who won an astonishing four gold medals. But Betty “Babe” Robinson would remain involved in the sport for decades, later being inducted into the USA National Track & Field Hall of Fame and even carrying the torch for a bit at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta when she was 84.

She passed away in 1999 at age 87 after suffering from cancer and Alzheimer’s, but she remains the youngest woman in history to win gold in the 100m.

If you want to know more, writer John Carroll wrote an incredible story about her in Runner’s World in 2019, and you can read it by clicking here. – WTF Fun Facts

Source: “Betty Robinson: how the fastest woman in the world came back from the dead” — Runner’s World