If you're an NFL fan, this is an exciting time of the year. Either your team is in the playoffs, or there may be some personnel changes in the works that will hopefully brighten your team's chances next year. In thinking about the upcoming Super Bowl, a few thoughts occurred to me that relate to your preparation for the LSAT - no, really!
NFL Rules are Incredibly Complicated
There's a good reason why so many NFL officials are attorneys. The rules, largely dominated by conditional reasoning, are very complicated. Consider this rule about an implication of the coin toss that begins each game:
For the second half, the captain who lost the pregame toss is to have the first choice of the two privileges listed in (a ) or (b), unless one of the teams lost its first and second half options pursuant to 4-2-1, or unless the winner of the pregame toss deferred his choice to the second half, in which case he must choose (a) or (b) above.
Or how about this rule governing simultaneous possession of a loose ball:
If a Loose Ball is controlled simultaneously by two opponents, and both players retain it, it is simultaneous possession, and the ball belongs to the team last in possession, or to the receiving team when there has been a Free Kick, Scrimmage Kick, or Fair Catch Kick. It is not simultaneous possession if a player gains control first and an opponent subsequently gains joint control.
How would you like to come across one of those rules on test day? Simplifying the rules is often touted as a league objective. Well, here's to next year. In the meantime, if you're looking for some extra conditional reasoning practice, check out the Official NFL Rulebook. And, as a special bonus, you could run through some of the scenarios in the 2012 NFL Rules Casebook. Fun!
It Snows on Both Sides of the Field - Even During the Super Bowl
The Farmer's Almanac is calling for “intense storms, heavy rain, snow, [and] strong winds," which "could seriously impact Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2." This should make for an interesting game, given that it will be played in an open-air stadium at the Meadowlands in New Jersey. People are wondering how the weather could impact the game. Many commentators relish the possibility of a "snow bowl," while a few bemoan any interference by severe whether with the finer points of the game. But you know what? It snows on both sides of the field. Both teams will have to prepare for bad weather, strategically and emotionally. And, the team that's best prepared for this contingency will actually benefit from the snow.
The same thing goes with your LSAT preparation. While it is unlikely to be snowing in your testing facility come February, other factors can and will interfere with your test environment. In fact, it's safe to say there's no such thing as a perfect test day experience. You can either bemoan that fact or relish the competitive advantage it can provide you - if you're prepared.
When you take your practice tests, don't cloister yourself in a perfectly quiet, perfectly comfortable space. Go find an uncomfortable chair in the library or some other public space where people are talking, papers are rustling, pencils are tapping, and devices are buzzing, beeping, and chirping. If you train yourself to ignore these distractions and instead focus on the test in front of you, you'll be ready to tackle the peculiar ambiance of test day. You're not in charge of your test day environment, so prepare for the reality of it and use some LSAT jiu-jitsu to convert that irritating assault on your senses into a competitive advantage over those other poor saps less well prepared.
As an aside, the test center stories that circulate about the LSAT tend to pale in comparison to the mostly apocryphal stories that spread just before each administration of the Bar exam. During my exam I saw nothing of note. But, my favorite story tells of a lady who started running around, jumping and flapping her arms, yelling, "I'm a springing executory interest!", "I'm a springing executory interest!" All those who have taken Real Property feel her pain.
I Need to Be More Like Tim Tebow
For those who don't know, Tim Tebow was arguably one of the best college quarterbacks of the past decade, but then failed to succeed in the NFL. It turns out that despite his successful college career, he had never truly learned how to throw the football in a way that prepared him for success in the NFL. Crazy, right? But apparently true.
In college, Tebow was the star of an offensive system that didn't require him to have good passing technique. Instead, Tebow's coaches relied on his strength and mobility. In just a couple of years, Tebow went from being a first-round draft pick to being an ESPN college football commentator.
But that backstory is not the whole story. Despite all the naysayers, Tebow has refused to give up on his dream. He recently dedicated himself to working harder than ever to become an NFL-caliber quarterback. For five months, Tebow "spent 10 hours a day for six days a week training[,] doing hundreds of thousands of reps." He may fail, but he's not giving up and he's not holding anything back.
Is your dream of becoming an attorney as strong as Tebow's dream of becoming a successful NFL quarterback? If so, what are you going to do about it?