Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘competition

Cheering Underdogs

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Warning: Men’s college basketball sports-speak ahead.

As the March Madness NCAA Men’s basketball tournament whittles its way toward the final four, I realize I’ve had no connection to any of the teams involved from the very beginning. With no loyalty influencing my preference for either team in each game, I found myself rooting for the underdog in almost every case.

The thing about having underdogs in a competition is that you need the stronger, favored team to go up against or there wouldn’t be an underdog. Thanks, higher ranked teams, for being in the tourney but I’m cheering for the other guys.

The energy involved in vanquishing a better team is more entertaining to watch. The players get more amped up. The guys on the bench get increasingly more animated. The announcers voices rise in emotion. The underdog fans in the stands go wild.

It’s contagious. I can’t help myself cheering along for a group of people for whom I have no other connection.

There were an 11 and a 12 seed team in the Elite Eight. There were also three number 1 seeds (from three of the four regions) and a number 2. I guess the rankings look justified at this point.

It’s not as exciting, but I do admire the individual and collective abilities of these powerful high-seeded teams. I respect them, even as I am cheering for their downfall.



Written by johnwhays

March 30, 2021 at 6:00 am

Sports Spectating

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There was a big sports championship waged yesterday in the U.S., ending the National Football League season for another year. Congratulations to the fans of the Baltimore Ravens.

American football is a team sport, 11 vs. 11. Each play is a battle of eleven different 1-on-1 competitions. I think that is what provides much of the intrigue of our game.

When it comes to players on offense trying to execute a block, all they need to do is occupy the person to whom they are assigned, for the brief moment of play. Sometimes, it can be as simple as getting positioned between the defender and the ball carrier. The offensive team knows where the play is intended to go, so it would seem they have the advantage.

The defensive players are tasked with needing to quickly deduce what is happening, fight off or avoid the block, and then make a play for the ball.

Many of the individual match-ups on any given play, could probably be judged a draw. Then it comes down to a player who can be either a hero, or a goat, which may produce a gain, or loss, of particular significance.

For as slow as the actual 60-minutes of play-clock takes to run (games take around 3 hours), there is a lot of action that happens in each short burst. It is a pleasant distraction from the real world, while it lasts.

Now that we have arrived at the NFL off-season, I can return my discretionary attention to things that actually matter.

As if. I do still have the sport of hockey for frivolous entertainment, you realize. Yes, the truth is, I’m rather hopeless when it comes to the distractions of spectator sports.

Written by johnwhays

February 4, 2013 at 7:00 am