Today was the first class session of the 13-week DeCal class I’m co-facilitating this semester, titled “Intro to Sports Statistics”. I have been interested in sports and statistics over the last few years and this opportunity is one I am very excited about, since it coalesces my passion for sports with my skills in mathematics/statistics. Last semester during my UGBA 196 class on Sports Management, two of my classmates/group members and I envisioned teaching a course on Sports Analytics for the undergraduate students at UC Berkeley. So we set out on a mission to facilitate a DeCal: we found a faculty sponsor willing to sponsor us and then drafted a syllabus. The Statistics department approved our course and soon our course was listed online by the time the spring semester began last month.
We created an online form for interested students to fill out and interest was high for our course. Well over 90 students expressed interest in the course and this was very exciting news to us. The students were pretty divided among all four years and there was a good mix of people with statistical background and even a couple Cal student athletes. With our course being allocated only 40 course entry codes (CEC), there was some worry that there may be too many people show up and not enough seats. But everything turned out to be all right. A total of 51 students showed up and there were more than enough seats in the room to accommodate everyone in the classroom. We went over a short presentation about the course (first week of classes are known as “syllabus week”) and then had the students break up into small groups to talk amongst themselves of why they are taking the course. A couple themes stood out: passion about sports, wanting to learn more about stats so I can talk trash to my friends, knowing better strategies for fantasy sports, sports analytics, sports fanatic, connecting my (major) with sports, Moneyball Revolution, etc. It was such a great feeling to be able to be in a classroom in which everyone shared one common interest: sports. Next week, the real fun begins as we will be covering football statistics and analytics.