By Moshe Kolb
The Following is one sports fan’s struggle with pure luck and its role in winning.
I love sports. I watch it. I follow it. I learn it. I study it. I play it. I coach it. I simply just love sports. Yet I can’t help being disappointed and bothered when championships are decided on nothing more than poor play and luck. 2008 (greatest football game / superbowl of all time (Pats vs. Giants), Final 4 of all #1 seeds for first time since 64 teams and the incredible finish of Memphis / Kansas, Phelps record setting Olympics and winning with .01 seconds while both teams shattering the world record, Usain Bolt shattering all records even those set by a cheetah as fastest mammal on planet, Woods winning the US Open on 1 leg in 19 hole playoff, and the crown jewel – the greatest sports match of all time --- Federer vs. Nadal in 5 hr. 5 set Wimbledon Finale over 3 days --
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/jon_wertheim/06/18/strokes.ofgenius/index.html) epitomized why we all love rooting, following, watching and living sports. What made that year great was --- we can all see the breathtaking mind shattering athleticism, guts, determination, will and skill these athletes put into making memorable plays that will be remembered in sports history that deserved to win championships. These games and matches weren’t won on 3 players completely missing the net on penalty kicks in world cup finale, or who dropped the fewest in field pop ups like this years so called greatest world series game, or somehow a quarterback who hadn’t thrown a bad pass all year missing wide open receivers for an entire game, a hail mary that the defense completely sleeps on, or 2 teams going to the superbowl on dropped TD passes, missed chip shot FG, and two fumbles by a punt returner. I know its part of the game, and yes the winning teams didn’t make those mistakes. BUT I AM GOING TO VENT!! How as a fan that worships excellent play at the greatest level can I accept a championship being given to “the team that doesn’t do great things but makes the fewest dumb plays”? We all watched the Giants play football this year. Eli had a very good year, victor Cruz breakout player of the league, but lets call it as it is --- the giants were an absolute mediocre football team. They somehow win a crappy division because Romo and cowboys are somehow worse than the giants, once again get a crappy 1st round team aka Tampa in 07, somehow have the packers completely forget how to play football and fumble 5 times, get San Francisco to fumble a few more times and somehow ELI gets praises. Have they played better than they did all year --- certainly yes they are playing better than all year --- but my gd how many gifts can you get. As Simmons writes “Eli throws a ball into double coverage, should be easily intercepted, but no of course they collide, drop the ball and knock one of the guys out for the game. It isn’t only the giants. I know it happens for other teams as well. Don’t get me wrong. I know there is nothing that can be done and that it’s all a part of sports. I am not solely against the Giants – look at this past years World Cup. What stands out – that U.S. goal, that no matter how many times the referees screwed them with phantom offsides calls --- they were determined and fought to bring us memorable moments and finishes that we’ll remember for all time. Where was the Niners or Alex Smith’s determination, or better yet Aaron Rodgers and the so called ”greatest quarterback play in history of football Mike Francesca”. I am just a sports fan searching desperately to see great sports at its greatest won by excellence not by incompetence. And this year’s Superbowl is ruined and tainted cause I won’t remember it for the winner’s great play, but rather the loser’s poor play. Or maybe I’m just bitter as a guy who lost a championship game in OT on a fluke bounce of the puck off a helmet into one’s own net :(