Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Physics of getting injured in softball.

The other day I mentioned that we went to watch Not the Momma play softball the other night. What I didn't mention is that Not the Momma broke the rules. My rules are very specific:

1. Have fun
2. Don't get injured.

Rule number 2? Right out the window.

It was the fourth inning, Not the Momma got to first base. The guy after him hit a triple. So Not the Momma ran home. The problem was, the other team was very close to tagging him out. It's against the rules to slide into home plate for 'safety' reasons. Since he was so close to being tagged, he went all out. Since he couldn't slide, he just ran. And that's where it began.

Since the "Spherical Chickens" are a bunch of science and math nerds (I love me some nerds!), they'll understand why it's dangerous to run full on into home plate without sliding, when 10 feet past the base there is a WALL. It's simple. Newton's first law: "A particle will stay at rest or continue at a constant velocity unless acted upon by an external unbalanced net force." Using the knowledge that he has learned in his college and post-graduate edu-ma-cation, we decided to figure out how much kinetic energy he had when hitting the wall. (a lot-- duh!)

So, yeah... start out with F=ma, wait. no, that's not right. What page are we on?

Okay. Start over. Not the Momma is the "particle" and he's moving at a fairly constant -- and fast for him -- velocity. And we'll say the wall is the "external unbalanced net force." Yeah, the wall -- it acted upon his knees, his hands his finger and his eye.


KE is kinetic energy, m is mass and v is velocity. So, there is KE=1/2(123*4.5^2)

He weighs about 123 kg, and an average person runs about 10mph --or 4.5 meters per second... That all translates into about 1245 joules.

Are you lost yet? I am. There was something about physics and m's. mmmm M&M's. Dark Chocolate M&Ms. This always happens when he starts getting technical. Uh oh! Wait, he's telling me something.

1 joule is the same as one watt per second. (or something like that) He had 1245 joules. which somehow translates into powering a 60 watt bulb for 20 seconds. (1245 divided by 60).

In other words. He done hit that wall purty hard. His knee looks like hamburger and his left ring finger may or may not be broken strained and/or jammed. He's afraid to find out. It made me hurt inside when I saw the blood dripping down his leg yesterday. And it still does every time I see it. So, of course I took pictures:

**PS when I read this to him we had the following conversation:

NTM: It does not look like hamburger! It stopped oozing!"
Me: In other words you're desperately injured?
NTM: NO! I'm seriously hurt!

What this all boils down to is that he broke the second rule. And he's grounded. He's not allowed to play softball again until April. Lucky for him it was the last game of the season, and the next season starts in April.

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