What sport/game does a joe vs pro stand the best chance?

burnthesheep
burnthesheep Posts: 675
edited October 2017 in The cake stop
This has always produced some humorous stories or interesting tales from people. Or some nice arguing about different sports.

Which sports and athletic games do you suppose an amateur "joe" could best keep close to a mediocre or low level "pro"?
Which would the joe always get destroyed?

I'm not talking a couch potato who wears a futbol jersey on Saturday to watch the game. I'm talking a solid amateur keeping up with a low level pro.

I'll start:

Golf: This will be my guess as to an amateur's best shot at keeping up with a pro. Some local amateurs on a good day can shoot a few under par from the pro tees. And any low-level tour pro can have a bad day or bad weekend and miss the cut. I say this with some background. I grew up playing a lot and competed until after high school travelling around. Our high school's competition included the school that Webb Simpson went to, Broughton High in Raleigh. We played them once in a match at the local Carolina Country Club. I was our team's captain and played in the group with him, as he was their captain. Let's just say even at that age the difference between a future US Open winner and just another schools captain is astonishing. I think for 9 holes I managed a +2 playing decent and he was -3.
Why, given that, do I think it's the best shot? Amateurs of good ability routinely go on a "streak" and win their way into a professional "open" event.

Worst?
I'd probably say amateur vs. pro in most any endurance sport. Triathlon, cycling, running. The margin of victory is going to be laughable. For a marathon you'd be talking about a margin of victory for the pro of probably at least 15 to 30 minutes for a full. Cycling? For a flat stage a Cat 2 or 1 rider could hang in a peloton. But as soon as there are a few hills.........forget it. Dropped. The surges are just too high and too long.
«13456789

Comments

  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 71,671
    Football.

    Aren't iceland mostly a bunch of part timers?

    + any FA cup upset.
  • TheBigBean
    TheBigBean Posts: 20,306
    You need a sport with lots of luck involved. Football and golf are good ones. Also, not really a sport, but amateur poker players can do very well against pros.

    I often ask people what sport they would have been most suited to turn pro at. I've decided mine would be baseball. I've never played, but I'm convinced it would have been my best chance.
  • joey54321
    joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    Golf I guess has an element of luck in terms of weather/gusts of wind.

    But why does football involve "lots" luck?
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 71,671
    joey54321 wrote:
    Golf I guess has an element of luck in terms of weather/gusts of wind.

    But why does football involve "lots" luck?

    Low scoring innit.
  • fat daddy
    fat daddy Posts: 2,605
    joey54321 wrote:
    But why does football involve "lots" luck?

    you have watched Scotland play havent you ..... aint no way there is any skills going on ... the only thing left is luck :mrgreen:
  • I disagree on the golf one, purely because you are referring to an amateur who is already in the top 1% of those who play the game.

    For this to work you need a sport with a lack of strength in depth.

    Using this criteria I would say women's rugby. I think you can take someone who has the physical attributes to match a certain position with a certain fitness/build and they would quickly not be out of place in a team. Being a team sport their lack of skill can be made up for in other ways.

    Rowing seems to be another sport where you can select a male or female based on their physique and they can become a top level athlete in a relatively short time period if they meet a certain criteria. I'm thinking of double Olympic gold medallist Helen Glover as the perfect example of this.
  • fat daddy
    fat daddy Posts: 2,605
    easily half of a bobsleigh team could be made up of amateurs ... run for 20meters, jump in the tub, duck
  • Horse racing and I'm talking the jockeys here - lots of examples of good amateurs winning group races when securing rides on decent horses.
  • Fair point on the golf.

    So what would be the fair breaking point for an amateur?

    For tennis there was a local story of two friends who played together in college. One went low-level pro and the other kept playing for recreation. A few years later they played for fun, and as the story goes, the low level pro beat the friend using something like a frying pan as a racket.
  • TheBigBean
    TheBigBean Posts: 20,306
    It is definitely not squash. In fact, I think squash is like endurance sports in this matter.
  • joey54321
    joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    I disagree on the golf one, purely because you are referring to an amateur who is already in the top 1% of those who play the game.

    For this to work you need a sport with a lack of strength in depth.

    Using this criteria I would say women's rugby. I think you can take someone who has the physical attributes to match a certain position with a certain fitness/build and they would quickly not be out of place in a team. Being a team sport their lack of skill can be made up for in other ways.

    Rowing seems to be another sport where you can select a male or female based on their physique and they can become a top level athlete in a relatively short time period if they meet a certain criteria. I'm thinking of double Olympic gold medallist Helen Glover as the perfect example of this.

    Disagree with the rowing bit, Helen is a crazy exception but rowing is massively technique dependent (though maybe less so than something like tennis). Still, by your logic cycling is definitely number 1 on the list. If you take someone with a high enough power to weight and stick them on a bike they can win the tour in a year.
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 71,671
    Rowing seems to be another sport where you can select a male or female based on their physique and they can become a top level athlete in a relatively short time period if they meet a certain criteria. I'm thinking of double Olympic gold medallist Helen Glover as the perfect example of this.

    Nah mate.

    Have been in some boats with some high level guys in the past.

    Amateurs just don't have the time or the energy to actually put in the hours and the training needed.

    It feels like amateurs are clsoer than in other sports because it already requires quite a high level of commitment to even do it at all at any competitive level (amateur or otherwise), but there's a 'uuuuuuuge gap.
  • Fair point on the golf.

    So what would be the fair breaking point for an amateur?

    For tennis there was a local story of two friends who played together in college. One went low-level pro and the other kept playing for recreation. A few years later they played for fun, and as the story goes, the low level pro beat the friend using something like a frying pan as a racket.


    A fair dividing point is hard to judge. For me, the amateurs who could blur the line compared to the average pro are the ones that have a physical attribute that compliments the sport e.g. Football - an 11 second 100m runner could play as a striker and his physical attribute would give him an advantage against a defender with more skill/experience. Also as a team sport his lack of ability would not be exposed in the same way as an individual sport.

    However, this is more about people with a physical ability in the top 1% and taking advantage of this to cross over to other sport, e.g. Michael Woods of Cannondale

    Matthew Syed covers your tennis story in his book Bounce. It's because the pro naturally developed his game as he was playing better quality players.
  • joey54321 wrote:
    I disagree on the golf one, purely because you are referring to an amateur who is already in the top 1% of those who play the game.

    For this to work you need a sport with a lack of strength in depth.

    Using this criteria I would say women's rugby. I think you can take someone who has the physical attributes to match a certain position with a certain fitness/build and they would quickly not be out of place in a team. Being a team sport their lack of skill can be made up for in other ways.

    Rowing seems to be another sport where you can select a male or female based on their physique and they can become a top level athlete in a relatively short time period if they meet a certain criteria. I'm thinking of double Olympic gold medallist Helen Glover as the perfect example of this.

    Disagree with the rowing bit, Helen is a crazy exception but rowing is massively technique dependent (though maybe less so than something like tennis). Still, by your logic cycling is definitely number 1 on the list. If you take someone with a high enough power to weight and stick them on a bike they can win the tour in a year.

    I agree Helen is a crazy exception but she was a PE teacher 4 years before she won gold and she is a great example around needing the physical attributes to cover a skill gap early on(amateur v Pro). It's hard to compare but could those attributes have made her a pro Basketball or netball player over the same period. I suspect not.

    I agree with you on cycling. There are numerous cross-over examples. Michael Woods(runner), Primož Roglic(ski jumper), Sarah Storey(Swimmer) and Hamish Bond(Rower) being 4 examples. But these are all already pro-level athletes because of their physical ability.
  • timothyw
    timothyw Posts: 2,482
    There's a story in the Sports Gene book about the high jumper Donald Thomas, world champion in 2007, who only took up the sport in January 2006 having been a basketball player - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Thomas_(athlete)
    Obviously it partly speaks of the relatively niche appeal of the high jump but it's certainly an instance where a rank amateur came out and was very soon competing with the pros.

    In the book he's contrasted with Stefan Holm, the then Olympic champion who had aspired to compete in the high jump since childhood and trained obsessively for twenty years, and had achieved success despite being a mere 5ft11, tiny for a high jumper.

    As previously posted though, it's the sort of thing where you would depend on a large luck factor in the outcome of the contest to truly get the situation of amateurs beating pros - perhaps the miracle on ice is the most well known example of this actually happening, with the american amateurs beating the soviet team of full time 'amateurs' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle_on_Ice

    I suppose you could argue whether the soviet team was up to the level of NHL pros at the time - certainly it was a very big upset!

    Another good example springs to mind from short track speed skating when the australian won after everyone else crashed out - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAADWfJO2qM - I suppose you could argue that an amateur has a reasonable chance in a bike race so long as a crash takes out the peloton!
  • Matthewfalle
    Matthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    Maybe something like snooker or darts?
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • laurentian
    laurentian Posts: 2,352
    Maybe something like snooker or darts?

    I heard a guy on the radio a few years ago who decided that he wanted to be a "champion" in a sport and decided that darts was the "easiest" sport to progress quickly in. The radio show (on 5live) follwed his progress over (I think) a year and he managed to qualify for a county finals but got no further as far as I know.

    Even the BDO players who are full time players, if not full time pros don't stand much of a chance over a meaningful period against the top level PDC players.
    Wilier Izoard XP
  • Matthewfalle
    Matthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    laurentian wrote:
    Maybe something like snooker or darts?

    I heard a guy on the radio a few years ago who decided that he wanted to be a "champion" in a sport and decided that darts was the "easiest" sport to progress quickly in. The radio show (on 5live) follwed his progress over (I think) a year and he managed to qualify for a county finals but got no further as far as I know.

    Even the BDO players who are full time players, if not full time pros don't stand much of a chance over a meaningful period against the top level PDC players.


    But in a one off event?
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • laurentian wrote:
    Maybe something like snooker or darts?

    I heard a guy on the radio a few years ago who decided that he wanted to be a "champion" in a sport and decided that darts was the "easiest" sport to progress quickly in. The radio show (on 5live) follwed his progress over (I think) a year and he managed to qualify for a county finals but got no further as far as I know.

    Even the BDO players who are full time players, if not full time pros don't stand much of a chance over a meaningful period against the top level PDC players.


    But in a one off event?

    unless you mean one dart nearest the bull then not a chance
  • DeVlaeminck
    DeVlaeminck Posts: 8,707
    [


    unless you mean one dart nearest the bull then not a chance

    In one leg of 501 plenty of decent amateurs could luck out. Throw a 14 or 15 dart leg and you have a chance against anyone.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • [


    unless you mean one dart nearest the bull then not a chance

    In one leg of 501 plenty of decent amateurs could luck out. Throw a 14 or 15 dart leg and you have a chance against anyone.

    but no game a darts is one leg

    that is like competing on one Par 3 hole on a golf course
  • Ben6899
    Ben6899 Posts: 9,686
    edited October 2017
    Football is a funny one. On a *good* day you, the amateur, would sneak a win. However on a *bad* day everything would happen as it should and you'd get hammered.

    This is speaking from experience!

    For all sports, the key thing is that Professionals are more consistent. That's why someone is willing to pay them to kick a football, ride a bike, throw a dart, jump off a ramp made from compacted snow.
    Ben

    Bikes: Donhou DSS4 Custom | Condor Italia RC | Gios Megalite | Dolan Preffisio | Giant Bowery '76
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ben_h_ppcc/
    Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/143173475@N05/
  • mamba80
    mamba80 Posts: 5,032
    Any form of target shooting, Clay pigeon, .22, air rifle, though like Glover and Rowing in the Olympics, i m not sure its got a pro arm.
  • crispybug2
    crispybug2 Posts: 2,915
    Quite simply, there isn't one!

    Using the football example cited earlier, there was a kid at my school who in football terms was mile's ahead of anyone, he went on to play schools representatives level and was still way better than anyone else.
    This brought him to the attention of professional clubs and he trained with and then had a full scale trial match with my local pro team, Northampton Town who were then a second division team, me and a few of his friends went to watch the match and he was so far off the pace it was embarrassing, he eventually played for Kettering Town, a non league team, a few times and dropped into lower leagues which is where he remained.
    In my opinion this story illustrates what is so great about professional sports, there are no illusions, you don't become a professional sportsman/woman by accident, it's a true meritocracy, we can dream but there's a world of difference.
  • joe2008
    joe2008 Posts: 1,531
    Maybe something like snooker or darts?

    You've obviously never played snooker.

    I'd say that was one of the hardest sports for Joe to stand any chance, even professionals outside the top 16/32 don't stand much of a chance against the best.
  • Matthewfalle
    Matthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    crispybug2 wrote:
    Quite simply, there isn't one!

    Using the football example cited earlier, there was a kid at my school who in football terms was mile's ahead of anyone, he went on to play schools representatives level and was still way better than anyone else.
    This brought him to the attention of professional clubs and he trained with and then had a full scale trial match with my local pro team, Northampton Town who were then a second division team, me and a few of his friends went to watch the match and he was so far off the pace it was embarrassing, he eventually played for Kettering Town, a non league team, a few times and dropped into lower leagues which is where he remained.
    In my opinion this story illustrates what is so great about professional sports, there are no illusions, you don't become a professional sportsman/woman by accident, it's a true meritocracy, we can dream but there's a world of difference.

    This - very good friend of mine was county standard at 4 sports, brilliant attitude, fit as a fiddle, motivate, trials at 4 different professional footy clubs: smashed out of the park by the other lads.

    Even he said that it ridiculous the high standard there. He's now a lawyer.

    I'm presuming that things like footy, rugby, cycling there isn't really a chance of a Joe causing an upset - I'm faster than 98% of people on here (the only known exception to be Poker Face) on a bike but a one legged Boonen with a hang over would crush me any day of the week.
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • joe2008
    joe2008 Posts: 1,531

    This - very good friend of mine was county standard at 4 sports, brilliant attitude, fit as a fiddle, motivate, trials at 4 different professional footy clubs: smashed out of the park by the other lads.

    Even he said that it ridiculous the high standard there. He's now a lawyer.

    I'm presuming that things like footy, rugby, cycling there isn't really a chance of a Joe causing an upset - I'm faster than 98% of people on here (the only known exception to be Poker Face) on a bike but a one legged Boonen with a hang over would crush me any day of the week.

    I reckon it would be easier to train someone to win a pro bike race than to teach someone to win a pro snooker match.
  • mr_goo
    mr_goo Posts: 3,770
    Elephant Polo
    Always be yourself, unless you can be Aaron Rodgers....Then always be Aaron Rodgers.
  • bonk_king
    bonk_king Posts: 277
    Are we talking an average joe off the street? If so, said average joe will never stand a chance in any sport against a pro, ever. Only if our average joe trained and practised and competed for months and months and years and years would he stand a chance of competing against a pro. But saying that, he wouldn't be an average joe no more then would he?
  • timothyw
    timothyw Posts: 2,482
    Football is an interesting one because it is such a dominant part of our culture - pretty much everyone has played it at some point, and the financial rewards are so great that it would be hard to envisage anyone with the potential to go pro not doing so.

    I've got second cousins who play in the Gibraltar team - in their world cup qualification they had a succession of batterings - but on the other hand their local team, the Lincoln red imps, did beat Celtic in the first leg of their champions league tie last year.

    It is an example of amateurs beating pros, but it was a bit of a hollow victory given that it was accomplished on home turf and the result was cancelled out by a three nil loss on the return leg.