Hoover-ball (The Financial Athlete #67)

Want to play Hoover-ball? All you need is an outdoor volleyball court, a net 8 feet high, a minimum of 4 players, and a 6 lb. medicine ball (or lighter for the whole family).

President Herbert Hoover will never be fondly remembered as one of America’s finest Presidents. He had the misfortune to preside as President during the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression until 1932. Economists like to point out the Hoover Administration as an example of what not to do when the nation is confronted with an economic crisis. So it can be said Herbert Hoover will never be forgotten, unlike the majority of U.S. Presidents.

Herbert Hoover also has the distinction of being the only President to have a sport named after him. His personal physician invented the game of Hoover-ball to keep Hoover physically fit. Each morning at 7 o’clock sharp, Hoover and his Cabinet members played Hoover-ball on the White House lawn until a factory whistle blew at 7:30AM…only 1/2 hour of play. After all, there was much to do to mismanage the affairs of the country.

To this day, Hoover-ball is played…somewhere. I have yet to see anyone play it. To promote the obscure sport, I plan on introducing it to my beach volleyball friends. Somehow, I don’t expect they’ll give up playing beach volleyball to play beach Hoover-ball.

Why do some team sports thrive while others like Hoover-ball you only learn about through studying history? Popular team sports generally require developing specific skills and foster team spirit. The best Hoover-ball players may have exceptional leaping ability and strength, but no particular skills (dribbling, pitching, racket skills, et cetera….) are required.

A parallel question for the business world would be: why do some businesses thrive while others struggle to survive or file bankruptcy? One reason is the business model, which is how a company makes money. The stronger business model, the higher the profit margins are calculated.

During the dot.com bubble era, which imploded from March 2000, investors blinded by a new technological revolution were throwing money at website companies run by tech savvy, inexperienced executives. The great lesson of this time is to first and foremost examine the viability and uniqueness of the business model, and then wait for traction of tremendous revenue growth and positive, free cash flow before investing in only a well financed company.

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2 Responses to “Hoover-ball (The Financial Athlete #67)”

  1. Gregory R. Norfleet Says:

    Hooverball’s annual championship match is played at Hooverfest on the first Saturday and Sunday of August. The event is sponsored by the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum Association on the grounds of the National Park Service in West Branch, Iowa. This is Hoover’s hometown and the site of his presidential library.
    From the scenery in your photo, it appears the photographer took the picture in West Branch, IA.
    Hope you can come someday!

  2. pastamanvibration Says:

    It would be my pleasure to come and play!

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