Saturday, October 10, 2009

Rugby Extinction

I think my coach is a secret behavioral psychologist. Earlier this semester he provided me with reinforcement for desired behaviors (going to practice, training on my own, giving 110%, etc.), and so these behaviors increased in strength. I tried really hard, and I got back into shape after a summer of not running. I tried out a whole back line of new positions, and I gave 120%. That's how the experiment works though-I keep pushing the lever, and food keeps dropping into the Skinner Box. It's a good system. Ben is a tricky guy though, and so he wanted to introduce a new element. Suddenly I stopped being reinforced for my good behavior. It's a funny thing, extinction, when a subject stops being reinforced for a behavior they increase in that behavior for a little while, and then they stop. A rat will frantically press the bar, but when they don't get food they move on to other pursuits. They join book clubs, and learn to bake, but they don't press the bar anymore. They also stop really caring about practice. I wasn't even an alternate for A-side this week, and so I went to practice, worked hard, had a good attitude, did what I was told, and played the toughest rugby possible, given I was practicing with the B side, and didn't want to hurt anyone, but I didn't receive any of that sweet, sweet reinforcement, and so I didn't go to the game. Not because I'm sulking or angry, just because I didn't see the point. I didn't really feel like getting up at 5:30 so I could sit in the car for six hours and kill another Saturday not-playing rugby. Instead I'm doing laundry, and going running, and cleaning my room, and maybe doing some homework. It isn't exciting, but it's still a whole day that I have to use productively.
I went out to dinner with some rugby girls last night after practice. It's nice to know that I'm not usually missing anything when I don't go on Fridays. We did a warm-up, and then maybe twenty minutes of ruck and runs, and then we were finished. It was kind of stupid actually. Anyway, Friday dinners are usually pretty bad, so a bunch of girls decided to go to the brewery instead. We got some signals crossed, so my group went straight downtown while everyone else went home and showered, but we eventually met up and had a nice dinner. It was nice to get off campus, and it was really nice talking to some people that I don't usually talk to.

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