The Sociology of Losing Games

Giancarlo Navas/ Staff Writer

Society looks at the failures of athletes different the failures of others. If an NBA player misses a go ahead shot at the buzzer a lack of empathy is common.

People will always say, “win or lose they make millions.” Or, “they just play a game.” Zero empathy.

The rift between fans and pro athlete is millions of dollars and the perks of being famous. Of mattering. Middle America can’t relate to that.

When Dwyane Wade slinks off the court after getting blown out by the sub .500 Milwaukee Bucks, do you think he is happy he is rich? Do you think he is okay with that kind of failure? A failure of being embarrassed on television with an audience of millions.

Fans seem to think the money eases that. That’s because of financial security the losing is okay.

Funny enough, the fans are the loudest in criticism with the least amount of information. “Fire coach  X!”, “Trade Player Y!”, “Why isn’t coach  X playing guy Z more?”

As Dan Le Batard always says, it’s whack-a-mole of criticism. In the Heat’s case, Goran Dragic was the first scapegoat.  Fan’s complained about Dragic’s below expectation performance. He was to blame. He got hurt and the offense has been a disaster.

The next mole to come up is Hassan Whiteside and his roaming on defense and his inability to pass out of a double team. Whiteside then gets hurt and Miami suddenly can’t hold on to a rebound and the Wizards are running circles around an already depleted team.

McRoberts hasn’t played in a few games? He will.

The scapegoat keeps changing and a new mole comes up to hit. Fans go crazy and need to find someone to blame. But in the end, they are millionaires and “they need to fix this because they are taking away my feel good.”

They act as if players are trying to lose. Because I guarantee that the players playing the games care more about the result than the fan on his couch with Dorito fingers.

We can do this with all sports and all leagues, even college.

The FIU Women’s Basketball team has dropped 11 straight games and has a 2-15 record for the season. Do you think any of those girls are having fun?

Athletes have professional pride as much as any other profession. They care about their craft. That’s why they have sculpted their skills over years and years.

While an engineer works on math all their lives, a basketball player crafts their post game or jump shot. An engineer can’t write a novel and a novelist cannot calculate head loss in a drainage system. They also can’t dream shake. Inversely a basketball player probably can’t write a novel or solve calculations. That doesn’t make them stupid or lesser beings. It just makes their skill of focus different.

Something I have always loved is how the Japanese refer to geniuses. It isn’t limited to something in academia like it is in America. The Japanese would call a great chef a genius or brilliant musician or even a great athlete. They seem to understand that expertise in a specific field is what a genius does. Not just a great novelist or engineer.

So as teams continue to lose, fan bases will continue to act like maniacs.  Demanding accountability from the entertainers while not empathizing with their pain. Because losing for them hurts a hell of a lot more than for you.

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