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The Loser's Plea

Each and every sports team and superstar – even academic teams – has made the ‘Loser’s Plea’ when they finally get bounced out of contention. Makes no difference who you are, when you finally do lose – and each and every one of us will at some point, folks are inclined to plead for protection from the results instead of acceptance of the results.

“We had a rough schedule…and, and, and…we had a lot of injuries…and, and, and…we’re still a great team…everyone should look at everything we went through this season and not think about ‘win’ or ‘loss’. After all, everyone wants us to be in there. We’re better than the teams that did make it.”

Excuse, excuses, excuses. Nothing more.

How often do those same so-called winning – yet defeated teams say, in deference to losing teams, “It doesn’t matter what you did. What matters is the W or L.”

Tournaments – in particular at the end of a season – were never intended to be a showcase of ‘favorite teams or players’ and they never should be.

Going back as far as the Roman Gladiators, a tournament has always been a play-off and a fight to the end to see who can survive the ordeal and finish on top of the heap.

Sometimes, the total and absolute underdog comes out on top, but sorry folks, but that’s the breaks.

Tournaments should never have a field that’s hand-picked to guarantee viewers or to guarantee new talent for a handful of specific schools or any some such.

They are a decider of who is the best at that moment in time.

Who cares what you did for the past few years?

Who cares what you did last week?

Who cares who graduated from your favorite school?

None of that should ever matter in a tournament.

Besides, you never gave a damn about what any other player or team around you ever did.

Why should you now be so suddenly deserving of special considerations?

There’s much more entertainment value in seeing an ‘obscure-unknown’ take on – and defeat – a pillar of the sport. It’s the “David and Goliath effect” and it makes for a good tournament.

It makes for a good game.

And if that ‘obscure-unknown’ made it into a playoff tournament by clawing their way through the ranks and knocking-off the ‘best teams’ around them – even if it’s just a flash-in-the-pan this season – who are so-called ‘established tournament favorites’ to cry foul when they get bounced?

They got bounced because they couldn’t do what they needed to do to advance.

It’s that simple.

There is zero justification for disregarding the underdog just to placate the favorite.

If they lost the games, they lost their chance. Case closed.

The other problem is that if only a few, select teams are the only ones ever allowed to take the spotlight, they end up being unevenly balanced.

What kid in sports doesn’t want to be on a winning team?

If those select few are the only teams that ever make it in, then of course they’ll end up signing the best talent!

The sad part is, those same kids don’t always get to see the other options that could have just as much a chance of winning, and the other teams are left to float around seemingly mediocre.

Look at college football.

The very idea that every team’s roster will inevitably change every so many years due to graduations, lends itself to fair play and a somewhat even field, with varying degrees of experience and talent – for everyone.

But it doesn’t work that way. A committee decides who they feel deserves to be in the play-offs, often times with a total disregard for records or W or L or whatever it took to get there.

If you’re one of the ‘favorite teams’ then you’re set.

You’re almost guaranteed an ‘in’ without ever having to earn it.

But if something happens that not even the committee can ignore and you get bounced from contention, then it’s holy hell on earth and the world has been turned upside-down.

Then – and only then – according to these ‘favorites’, should injuries and tough schedules and W or L be considered. Not for any other team, mind you, just for them.

I do find it in small part amusing and in large part quite sad that these ‘favorite winning teams’ have been kept on top for so long that they don’t know how to lose.

They can’t even recognize it when it happens.

“That can’t happen to us!”

“Everyone wants to see us in the playoffs!”

We had a tough schedule!”

We had a lot of injuries!”

“We’re still a great team even if we lost big when we should’ve won!”

When it comes down to it, it’s nothing more than the Loser’s Plea for clemency

and protection from loss.

Learn to lose gracefully, guys.

No team will ever go on forever, sitting on top of the heap no matter how they play.

No team…no player…no coach…no ‘superstar’.

Everyone has to lose some time.


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