To some….winning IS EVERYTHING

Remember when you were younger, one of the first rules you learned about sportsmanship is that WINNING ISN’T EVERYTHING. It was our coaches, mentors, and parents’ way of telling us to play hard, have fun, but never become consumed with WINNING. It was great advice, at the time. What they didn’t tell us is that when we got older, no matter if we were a sports professional or fan, WINNING WOULD BE EVERYTHING.

Is it LIFE or DEATH? NO. Is it MAKE OR BREAK for an athlete’s career? I want to say NO, but when I look at how we judge some athletes….But when it comes to the way we judge and rank athletes in this day of sports, WINNING IS EVERYTHING.

First and foremost, we look at WINS and LOSSES. It doesn’t matter the stat line, if it didn’t amount to a win. When teams win big games, we tend to praise any and everything that they did right. We highlight every great shot, every great play, and every moment that solidified their victory. And when teams lose, we tend to criticize everything they did wrong. Every missed shot, every blown play, and every defensive breakdown all become our topics of choice.

If you are a sports fan, you have witnessed this fact time and time again.

We don’t praise the 2007 New England Patriots for being the only team, other than the ’72 Miami Dolphins, to have a perfect season, because they lost in their final, most important game. At the same time, we also don’t talk about how the New York Giants had a 5-game losing streak, and was a 6-seeded Wild Card team in the same season.

We don’t care that the L.A. Kings had the least amount of wins of any team going into the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

How many times have we witnessed an MLB pitcher have a great game, only to suffer a 1-0 defeat? Suddenly, the great innings pitched and strikeouts no longer matter to us.

I will not have a clear opinion on the Welterweight title bout between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley Jr. from last Saturday until I see it for myself tonight. So at this point my issue isn’t with the decision. My issue is with the lack of discussion. If Pacquiao had won, we would be hearing about his greatness in this fight. Many sports analysts have gone on record to say they felt Pacquiao controlled 10 out of 12 Rounds in this fight. So tell me how. The truth is, even with a controversial loss, the sports public has turned their backs on him in a way. I’ll be sure to give him the credit he deserves after watching it tonight.

My final point, the 2012 NBA Finals. Through two games, with the series tied at one game a piece, the media coverage of Miami Heat star LeBron James has been on opposite ends of the spectrum.
GAME 1: 30 PTS, 11/24 SHOOTING (45%), 9 REBOUNDS, 4 ASSISTS, 4 STEALS, and 4 TURNOVERS.
 GAME 2: 32 PTS, 10/22 SHOOTING (45%), 8 REBOUNDS, 5 ASSISTS, 1 STEAL, and 2 TURNOVERS.
So looking at these stats, we are saying that the difference between being “not good enough” (game 1) and being “clutch” (game 2) is the difference of +2 PTS, -1 REBS, +1 STEAL, -3 ASSISTS, and 2 less TURNOVERS. Really? Some will claim that it’s all about the 4th quarter performance, so I’ll give you those stats as well.
4th Q, GAME 1: 7 PTS, 2/6 SHOOTING (33%), 3/4 FTs, 2 REBS, and 1 TURNOVER
 4th Q, GAME 2: 6 PTS, 1/4 SHOOTING (25%), 4/4 FTs, 2 REBS, and 1 TURNOVER
Any rebuttals?

We care about one thing in sports. We don’t care about the guy who is an upstanding citizen. We don’t care about the nice guy. We don’t even care about the guy who puts up the best numbers. We want WINNERS. WINNING IS EVERYTHING. And after you WIN….then we’ll give you the credit for everything you did to help create that victory.

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