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Anonymous Mailbag

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It’s Tuesday and, as always, I’m here to solve all the problems in the OutKick universe.

We will be in Tuscaloosa this weekend for the OutKick bus tour, and we will be broadcasting from the Innisfree Pub all morning. So I encourage you guys to come hang with us on Saturday morning. The OutKick bus will be parked in town starting on Friday, so you won’t be able to miss it.

If you have an anonymous mailbag question you’d like to have me answer, email your question to claytravis@gmail.com, anonymity guaranteed.

Okay, here we go:

“I need you to set the odds an average guy making a 40 yard field goal with 3 attempts?

I have 4 buddies who think they can all make 40 and 50+ yard FGs with a month’s work of prep. We’re all in our low 30s. 3 played HS soccer and range between ridiculously fit to prototypical dadbod, the fourth is the best 5-10, 240 pound athlete you’ll ever meet. If it doesn’t involve endurance running or jumping, he’s the guy I’m picking first on the sandlot.

Obviously there is no kick rush, they get to setup and kick it with a run up like a kickoff. I don’t think anyone is making over a 30 yarder, they insist they can all make a 40+. Preposterous. As an expert on middle-aged male athleticism, what do you think their chances are?”

At best, the odds are 20-1 that any average guy makes a 40-yard field goal. And I’d bet the 20-1 odds every time.

Now that’s just based on the “average guy.” I have no idea on analyzing your friends in particular, even with the details you provided. They sound like a more athletic group of guys than most dads would be, but I think they are severely overrating their likelihood of making field goals of forty or more yards. I think the odds of them making a fifty-yard field goal are virtually zero, and their odds of making a forty-yard field goal are low too.

Now let me explain my rationale here.

Men drastically overstate their own athleticism and vastly underrate the athleticism of professional athletes in relation to their own athleticism. For instance, men see a large offensive or defensive lineman running with the football and falsely assume they would be faster running with the football. This is a huge flaw in thinking. The reason those offensive and defensive linemen seem slow isn’t because they are actually slow, it’s because everyone running around them is super fast. If the average guy picked up a football and tried to run in a major college or NFL game — assuming they were capable of picking up the ball at all — they would look insanely slow, even slower than the fat guys running with the football.

In fact, I think an amazing TV show would be average dudes attempting to run the football against NFL defensive lines. Seeing guys get absolutely destroyed would be riveting television. And almost no one would be capable of gaining even a single yard. Or even getting back to the line of scrimmage on the handoff.

As I’ve written before, a small percentage of men can break a 5.0 forty. Yet everyone thinks they can. In general, unless you can dunk a basketball, you are unlikely to break a 5.0 forty. Why is this? Because your overall vertical roughly equates with your overall speed.

I use the example of whether you can dunk a basketball because it’s something virtually every man has tried. Almost every guy knows whether he can dunk a basketball. And we know a relatively small percentage of men can actually dunk a basketball. I’d guess that percentage is roughly 5% of the overall population. That is, around one in every twenty men can dunk. (And this might well be too high of a percentage and really only includes men at their peak age of athleticism since the number of men over forty, for instance, who could dunk a basketball is nearly zero. And the number of men below average height who can dunk is also very low.) Remember, you can’t just think about whether an average guy who plays basketball can dunk because the number of men who ever play basketball is actually a substantial minority of the overall male population.

Think of how many guys in your high school could dunk. It’s a tiny percentage of the overall men in the class. And you would know most of those guys. Even now, I can name the guys in my senior class who could dunk. (And I mean regularly dunk, not scrape a softball or volleyball over the rim on their absolute best jump.) And all of the guys who could dunk were on the basketball team, which isn’t a surprise at all. How many members of the your high school’s band could dunk? How many members of the debate team? How many math-a-lon or spelling bee competitors could? Yes, a few guys on your school’s basketball team might have been able to dunk, but that’s because they were the best athletes in the school. Judging whether guys can dunk based on looking at your basketball team’s dunk rate is like judging penis sizes based on porn stars.

Okay, now let’s transition that to the football field. If you can’t dunk, you probably can’t break a 5.0 forty and you probably can’t kick that well either. Yes, kicking is less of a raw athletic endeavor — there’s more technique involved than just in jumping — but it’s still a rare talent to have a massive leg strength. Just like it’s rare to be able to throw a baseball 90 miles an hour.

Several years ago, I was intrigued by the idea of a punt, pass, and kick challenge. The rules of the challenge are simple: you start at the goal line on one end of the field and you punt, then throw as far as you can from where the punt lands, not where it rolls, then kick a field goal from where the ball hits on your throw. (Not where it rolls on either.) That’s a 110 yard challenge — the goal posts are ten yards back on your final field goal — and a relatively small percentage of people can compete this challenge. (If you’re looking for a fun bachelor party challenge, there you go, find a high school field and attempt the challenge with money on the line for the winner.)

At my peak, I could punt the ball thirty yards and throw the ball fifty yards, but I couldn’t make a thirty yard field goal as required at the end. There’s no way I’d even be close now. (Caveat: I think if I trained, I could improve my punting and field goal kicking, but not THAT much.)

I would say that I am somewhere around the 60% percentile for male athletes. That is, I’m better than 60%, worse than 40%. (At 42, I think I’m higher now than I was in my teenage years or my twenties because lots of guys have completely let themselves go by 42 and I’m still within hailing distance of my weight in college.)

A thirty yard field goal, for most men of average athleticism, is a bridge too far.

There’s no way an average guy could kick a forty-yard field goal.

And I would bet that being able to kick a fifty-yard field goal is even rarer than being able to dunk a basketball. Again, because there’s a great deal of technique involved and most people lack the leg strength to kick the ball that far — and that high and that accurately.

In an effort to get the best possible answer to this question, however, I texted Titans pro bowl punter Brett Kern the question too. “What percentage of men could kick a forty yard field goal?” His response, “Probably less than 5%.”

There you have it from an expert too, we reached the same rough number.

“A friend invited me to his daughter’s 2 year old birthday party. I don’t have kids, and most people attending don’t have kids. I’m confused about this— a group of adults attending a birthday for a child. I guarantee this wasn’t a thing until recent years.”

The slow creep of adult men into social events that make no sense for adult men to be involved has to stop.

Baby showers, couples showers, kid birthday parties, draw a line in the sand while you can and don’t go to these things. If you’re a single guy, you shouldn’t be attending a kid’s birthday party unless it’s a close family relative or there’s a cornucopia of single women to meet there and you’re trying to pretend you’re really interested in having kids to get a good looking woman to sleep with you. (Most men have been there, ladies. The number of men who never had thought of having huge families, but decided they wanted huge families the moment they found out a hot girl they liked wanted a huge family is gargantuan).

So while I don’t think you should go, one final thought on the two-year-old birthday party. Have you gone months without seeing your buddy in a social setting? It’s possible he’s using the birthday party as an opportunity to hang out with you, and his wife won’t let him leave the house otherwise. In other words, this could be a cry for help from him. Give him a call and see if you can ascertain whether that’s the case. If it is, I rescind my criticism of the idea and it may make sense for you to go see him.

Many men — and women — get so overwhelmed with work and young kids that they lose any semblance of their social life, and this may be a desperate cry for help from your buddy — using the two-year-old’s party as a chance to see all the friends he hasn’t seen in a long time.

“I am a public high school teacher in the wokest school district in Illinois. There are absurd COVID rules for our high school, and even more so for the elementary and middle schools that feed into our high school. Another teacher in my department texted us today to let us know her kids were close contact to, not tested positive, close contact to a student who tested positive for COVID. Her text said that she would have to be out because they are both under 10 years old and they have to do remote learning for 14 school days! And while she hopes to be at school frequently, her main concern is that her kids make it through this.

The insane people in this country will never let COVID fear go, but how can us sane people take back control of the decision making? Most people I talk to in private have the same feeling, protect the vulnerable and everyone else live normally. How do we end the madness?!?!?!”

If one of your friends said he or she wasn’t letting their kids go to school because they were afraid the kids might die of the seasonal flu, be murdered, or die in a traffic accident on the way to school, you would rightly worry about the mental health of the parent.

And you’d feel sorry about the parent’s mental health issues and how that might impact their children.

You certainly wouldn’t attempt to normalize the behavior or encourage it. Yet we’ve allowed this kind of irrational thinking to dominate when it comes to children and COVID.

Your co-worker’s kids DON’T EVEN HAVE COVID. THEY WERE JUST EXPOSED TO IT. They are seriously more likely to be murdered during their quarantine. Or to drown during their quarantine. Or, sadly, to commit suicide during their quarantine. I feel like I need to keep screaming it from the rooftops, but COVID IS NOT A DANGER TO YOUR KIDS!

IT NEVER HAS BEEN.

AT ALL.

Do some severely immuno-compromised kids get COVID and die with it? Yes. And that sucks. I wish no kids ever died of anything. I’m anti-kid death. And anti your grandma dying. And anti death in general. In fact, there is no one on the planet who hates death more than me. I’m pro-immortality more than anyone on earth.

But this idea that kids are in danger of COVID is a complete and total lie that is unsupported by any statistical reality. We can’t return to normalcy until a vast majority of parents realize this and stop living in fear.

Because this fear, which isn’t supported by any statistical reality, undergirds mask mandates, vaccine mandates, you name it. Everyone has to get back to normal.

Now.

“My employer, Ford, is now making it mandatory for their employees to tell them if they are vaccinated or not. This is ‘Step 1’ per the email they sent Monday morning at 7:00am. They are hiding behind Biden’s executive order.

I and my wife are both not vaccinated due to us both recovering from COVID like you did. We both have recently gotten antibody tests and both us are very well protected from COVID due to our antibody level.

What advice do you have for us?”

There’s no doubt that this is the preliminary step for a vaccine requirement at your place of work.

And there’s also no doubt that you and your wife should have an opportunity to put that you recovered from COVID on the form and be immune from any vaccine requirements in the future. Much of Europe is already doing this. It’s not a radical idea since the data reflects natural immunity is more protective than vaccinated immunity.

Here’s the biggest issue that I see with this, however. The data doesn’t remotely support the idea that if 100% of people were vaccinated for COVID that COVID would disappear and we’d get back to normal. Yet this is the false bill of goods that the Biden administration is selling us right now. Just look at Israel and England, two countries that are far more vaccinated than we are. COVID is still rolling right along in those countries.

Heck, look at Marin County, in California’s Bay Area, it’s one of the most vaccinated places in the world, 96% of all adults are vaccinated there. Yet look at their hospitalization rate.

How do you explain this?

Well, based on the data, it appears the vaccine provides limited protection for a short period of time and then begins to wane in effectiveness. We know this is true because that’s the justification for the boosters, which the Biden administration wants everyone to take. Okay, but if the original two dose vaccine wanes in effectiveness, why wouldn’t the boosters wane in protection too? And if they do, which seems logical, how often are you going to have to get COVID vaccine boosters? Once a year forever? Every six months forever?

It’s hard for me to see any situation where COVID doesn’t become endemic like the seasonal flu.

That is, it’s never going away.

Now does that square with the promises Joe Biden has made? As recently as mid-May he was telling us if you got vaccinated, you’d never have to wear a mask again and you’d never get sick or be hospitalized for COVID. None of that is true.

Now he’s trying to mandate vaccines, something he said he would never do.

Yesterday Joe Biden got his booster shot and told us that we’d need to get 97% or 98% of people vaccinated in order for life to return to normal. But wait, Dr. Fauci told us that once 75% or 80% of adults got the vaccine COVID would be over. Well, we’re at 77% of adults who have gotten at least one shot nationwide. And the data from Marin County above is with a place that has 96% of people vaccinated. Yet they are seeing a surge in hospitalizations.

Again, the data doesn’t reflect that what the Biden administration is promising is true.

That’s not any kind of political commentary at all, it’s just an opinion based entirely on looking at the data and making decisions based on what that data shows us. Politicians have been sixty to ninety days behind the data for 18 months now.

And the majority of the American public is now starting to get red pilled and see what’s going on here. That’s why a fairly substantial majority now doesn’t trust Biden when it comes to COVID.

I wish we were 100% vaccinated now just because it would end this ridiculous distinction between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. The Biden administration is claiming the only reason COVID still exists is because everyone in the country isn’t vaccinated and the data reflects that just isn’t true.

Even if everyone was vaccinated, we’d still have a massive COVID issue.

And, significantly, I still don’t understand why the government should care about people who are unvaccinated. If you are choosing to stay unvaccinated — and you haven’t already recovered from COVID and gotten natural immunity — then that’s a choice you’re making, a risk you’re willing to take. I don’t think it’s a smart risk to take if you’re over 75 years old or if you’re 65 and morbidly obese, but it’s a choice you’re able to make.

If the vaccines really work, then you shouldn’t be worried about unvaccinated people getting you sick.

Hell, I have a measles and mumps vaccine. So do my kids. Do you know how many times I’ve ever worried about getting measles or mumps? Zero. That’s because I know the vaccine works.

Now some people will argue, but what about the variants? The chances of variants emerging in the United States are incredibly low now. Because we have so many people vaccinated already and so many people have also had COVID. The variants are all far more likely to be coming from foreign countries with high populations and low vaccination rates. The delta variant came from India, which had virtually no one vaccinated and a massive spread of the virus there. That’s why many public health officials around the world are rejecting boosters and want those vaccines sent to countries with low vaccination rates instead.

The truth is, we’ll probably see COVID variants for the rest of our lives. The virus, because it was man made in a Chinese lab to be highly infectious, also seems to be quite adept at modifying itself and continuing to infect massive numbers of people with those variants.

While we keep worrying about a new, worse variant of the virus, I’m hoping for the opposite, that COVID mutates in a way where the virus becomes less dangerous. And I think that’s equally likely going forward, if not more so. But the truth is we just don’t know what will happen.

The only thing we know for sure is that COVID isn’t going away.

So when will people start living their lives without fear and returning to normal activities? My family has been back to normal since May of last year. If yours isn’t back to normal, that’s your choice, but why should your illogical fears impact my freedoms in any way? Put simply, they shouldn’t.

It’s long past time for the United States to return to normal life.

As always, thanks for reading the anonymous mailbag. Send your questions to claytravis@gmail.com, anonymity guaranteed.

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.

2 Comments

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  1. On the subject of little kid birthday parties, you were close, but missed the head of the nail. This isn’t a “cry for help” from the guy, it’s literally just using a kid as an excuse to have an adult party, but one where people with kids don’t have to wonder if it’s ok to bring them or if they need a sitter or to decline the invite. We had a party for our 1 year old (which he obviously couldn’t even comprehend) and the only “kid birthday party” parts were singing a song for 30 seconds and a handful of people watching him open presents for like 5-10 minutes. Outside of that, it was all our adult female friends congregating and drinking wine and all our adult male friends drinking beer and watching football and talking. Kids, in a group setting, entertain themselves. It’s a win-win-win.

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