In the late 1980s, national football power and frequent Rose Bowl participant Washington fell on hard times. While the Huskies had not infrequently finished seasons in the early ‘80s with 10 wins or more, suddenly 6, 7 and 8 win campaigns became more common.
Looking inward, legendary head coach Don James could see that his players weren’t fast enough. One of James’s solutions was to send his recruiters out on the road with their own stopwatches. No longer would they accept as truth the 40-yard dash times reported to them by others. They would see for themselves, with their ownstopwatches, if potential scholarship recipients had the speed to play for the Huskies.
No doubt James made other changes too, but the focus on verified 40 times resulted in better, faster athletes according to the coach, and more wins. In his last three seasons at UW, the late James’s Huskies went to three straight Rose Bowls, and won two of them. After winning the 1992 Rose Bowl, the Huskies were voted national champions in the coaches’ poll.
That James no longer trusted the 40 times of players not clocked by his own coaches is a useful historical anecdote in consideration of all the currency hand wringing between countries that’s taking place at the moment. James felt the measurements of others suspect. The reported 40-yard times of some of his recruits didn’t always result in fast players. The measurements were flawed, so James acted.
The anecdote is useful when we remember that President Trump, Democrats like Sen. Chuck Schumer, along with countless other politicians, economists and pundits, believe that Chinese producers have gained a trade advantage by keeping the value of their currency (the yuan) artificially low. Supposedly this makes them more competitive. So if we ignore that the yuan has actually risen a fair amount against the dollar since 2005, it’s easy to see why the accusations against the Chinese don’t hold any water. They don’t because money is a veil. It can’t change the real price of anything anymore than an abnormally lengthy second that shrinks 40-yard times could make a player fast. Reality always intrudes.