Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Agony of the Upset

The Upset: Whether you are an athlete, coach, or fan-addict of any team, and whether they are professional, collegiate, or even little league, there is always the possibility of defeat. Defeat always lurks whether you are the favorite, an evenly matched opponent, or a doormat, and that feeling of defeat will strike you in many different ways. As the favorite, you are expected to win. Victory may and should be easy, but there is little to gain other than maintaining your reputation. However, if the favorite loses, there can be dire consequences. I think what makes the upset most painful is the fact that you were supposed to win and that the possibility of losing should never even have crossed your mind; once you do in fact lose, you won't even know what hit you. Here are a couple of ways the upset will shock you:

David vs Goliath: This is the most surprising type of upset. Every major upset starts out the same way: the underdog proves that they have come to play. Whether it's playing stingy defense, scoring first, or actually running away with the game for the moment, the only way an underdog can hang around is by showing their mettle. Once the underdogs establish themselves, the favorites wake up and usually take over the game. However, every now and then David holds on and trades punches with Goliath. The two teams go back and forth with a finale that will either be seen as a scare or a shocking upset. Towards the final stages of the game, Goliath will either finish off David, or David's sling will deliver an unexpected and decisive kill-shot of Goliath for the victory. At the end of every major upset, one thing is for certain: David deserved it.

The Underestimation: The title is pretty straightforward and this element is always in every upset; however, for the bigger games that we have, both teams got there for a reason, which is why you should never underestimate your opponent on a big stage. They are there for a reason. We see examples of this in all sorts of playoff games, but especially in playoff runs. Many teams gain momentum throughout their playoff success, making them into an entirely different team with a new expectation to win. These kind of teams expect to win it all after recent successes by gaining large amounts of confidence.

The Fluke (The Underdog): These upsets happen when the favorite just does not show up to the game. Oftentimes they can get away with it by waking up late in the game with a sense of urgency, but every now and then, they suffer the consequences of arriving to the game flat: the underdog will get lucky and they won't. The cheap defeat hurts less when the favorite can recover and play the way they are accustomed and expected to for the rest of their season. Most players/coaches/fan-addicts hope every upset is this fluke, not...

The Fluke (The Favorite): What can be a wake-up call could also spell disaster for the entire season because it shows that the favorite is a fluke. Oftentimes, people like to rank certain teams relative to others or predict how well each team will do. Every now and then, there's that team that people will overrate. This only means they have a longer way to fall. Personally, nothing more disappointing in the world of sports than false hope. Everyone has it and everyone will be upset.

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