“I wish I knew which was longer 3/8, 1/2, 5/8… you played in the NFL, Troy: what’s longer, 5/8 or 1/2?”
—Joe Buck, during an NFL game
People in the sports world have a reputation for being dumb jocks. Happily, there’s at least one former athlete we who can estimate with the best of them. In a recent interview, baseball hall-of-fame catcher Johnny Bench estimated he’d squatted 500,000 times. Was Mr. Bench’s estimate close?
Bench played almost 20 years with the Cincinnati Reds, not counting minor league and nonprofessional games. He played about 150 games per year. Each game the ball is pitched about 100 times, meaning Bench squatted about 100 times per game. His total number of squats is likely to be about double this since he’s also catching for practices. From these numbers we can estimate how many times he squatted over his career:
# of squats = 2 · (# squats per game) · (# games per year) · (# of years)
= 2 · (100 squats per game) · (150 games per year) · (20 years)
= 600,000 squats.
Well done, Mr. Bench! Your estimate is certainly reasonable.