How to ensure fairness in basketballI have been thinking about fairness in sports a lot. That is the kind of person I am.
The average height of men in the US is 175 centimeters. In basketball it would be only fair to ban those over 175 centimeters, as extra tall men have an unjust advantage compared to the others.
However, since the men that are 175 centimeters have a natural advantage over those that are 170 centimeters tall, we need to ban everyone between 170 to 175 cm as well. But this will leave the ones that are 170 cm heigh having an unfair advantage over those that are 160 cm, and so on and so forth, which leads me to conclude that the best kind of basketball is the one where every participant is exactly one meter tall.
At this point we will also ban everyone who is below one meter, because you have to draw the line somewhere, right?
In Norway the average height of men is close to 180 cm. The average Sri Lankian man is 165 cm. The one meter rule will make sure that all international basketball games are fair. Err on the side of caution, I say.
(I am sure my American friends will find the use of the metric system here a little bit bewildering. Remember, though, that 1 meter is 3.28084 feet. I think we all can agree that it easier to remember 1 meter than 3.28084 feet.)
The transgender problem in sports
My approach will also solve the "transgender problem" in sports. Not that there is a problem, mind you, since transgender women are not in any way dominating female sports. Nor do transgender men have a natural advantage over cisgender men.
But some people think there is a problem, which is why I propose that we equalize the hormone field as well.
Equalize testosterone levels
In general, the normal range in males is about 270-1070 ng/dL (nanogram per deciliter blood – you have to love the metric system!) with an average level of 679 ng/dL.
It therefore makes sense to only allow men with 679 ng/dL to compete. In this way the ones with higher levels will not gain any competitive advantage and the ones with lower levels will not get their feelings hurt.
The average testosterone levels found in women is 17 to 70 nanograms. Let us say, for the sake of argument, that the real average is around 45. We can ban all female competitors, cis and trans, over and under this level.
We can actually do this for all important variables: stamina, muscle strength, personality, hair color and shoe sizes, making sure that all sports finally become fair.
We will also have to reset all historical rankings, as it would be unfair to compare the results of our perfectly average athletes with the athletes of the past.
Here's the truly brilliant part of my plan: We can use competitions to identify variables that creates unfairness. If any of our perfectly average athletes perform better than the others, those are actually not perfectly average. They have an unfair advantage, and we can use science to identify what that advantage is (as in perfect skin reducing air drag).
In the end we will be left with only one perfect athlete who can compete with themselves.
I am sure some of you will argue that all of this will get pretty boring. Keep in mind, though, that this is all about fairness. Sports is not about having fun.
Illustration based on drawing by Aleksey Martynyuk.
See also: Transgender people in sports: The data doesn’t match the claims that they shouldn’t compete