Non-Transitivity Of Sport

We all know that sport results are non-transitive.  If A beats B and B beats C does not assure that A will beat C.  It might mean that A will be favored over C but the outcome is uncertain.

Today at the handball court we had a splendid example of that non-transitive nature.  On Thursday nights four of us play round-robin singles ending with a game of doubles.  Here are the results for the evenings top three players:

A beat B 15-1
B beat C 15-2
C beat A 15-10

There were no injuries, temper tantrums, or endurance issues that you might find in a local club. It could have been match-up problem like a lob serve but it wasn’t.  It was just about momentum.  You get on a roll and you need to bury your opponent because you know what can happen if you lose momentum to a capable opponent.

Relative scores in sports can be useful information but they are not definitive.  We showed that again tonight.


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