Once upon a time there was a young economics student who stayed up all through the night to finish her Bachelor’s thesis. She had been working on it for some months, and by now hated the topic. Hated it so much that the only thing pushing her to finish it was the 9AM deadline the next morning.
The young economics student finished her thesis on time, but during those dark (physically and spiritually) hours of early morning, she made a promise to herself. A promise, that she would find a topic she could be passionate about for her Master’s thesis.
And so it happened, that one afternoon during a game theory lecture on auctions, our young economics student started thinking about the National Hockey League entry draft. And if maybe game theory could be used to model the decision making during the draft. But where to start? She had never even heard of such studies, such applications of economic theory. Luckily she, like all good heroes in any story worth the paper it’s written on, had a fairy godmother. “Have you ever looked into economics of sport?” asked her fairy godmother-slash-economics TA. “The what??” replied our eloquent young economics student, “economics of what now??”
Indeed there was such a field, and so she spent the next hours, days, weeks reading everything she could find on the field. And she felt like finally she had found her reason, her spiritual and academic home: the economics of sport.
Unfortunately, life has a habit of not going as planned, and so it went also for the young economics student. She graduated, for sure. She wrote her Master’s thesis in economics of sports (trade, not draft), and she even got a few independent study academic credits under her belt in economics of sports. And then real life with rent and job markets and adult responsibilities started to interfere with her enthusiasm of learning all she could about economics of sport.
So she got a job, and then a better one, and a better one after that. Interesting one, that challenged her and made her learn new things. But it wasn’t right. Even if the young economics student, now an economist, was learning new things and making a difference, she was not happy. She was back in those dark early morning hours writing about something she wasn’t passionate about. And she realized it was time for another promise. Time to return to her home.
But years had gone by since she had last truly invested in the study of sports economics, or her own learning. She no longer remembered much of it, and there was no way to know if what she had learned back in independent studies was comparable to the things taught in sports economics programs. And the field, both in economics and analytics, had advanced greatly while she was busy with paying rent and creating a career she liked well enough but didn’t love.
What was a young(ish) economist to do? She didn’t feel confident about her level of knowledge and skill, but there were no ways of formally add to that skill set, to her knowledge. So she did what some say she does best: research and make a plan. (She was really really good at making plans. Some would say compulsive but those were haters and therefore not worth her energy.) And that plan was to refresh her knowledge based on the sports economics syllabuses she found online. She would recap, and rewrite, and expand. She would, in short, relearn everything she felt she should have learned in university and never forgotten. And then, she’d go from there.
Once upon a time there was an economist who loved economics of sport. This is her story back home.