Crio’s Question : What causes the mighty to fall?

There are different sorts of shellackings.

There’s the early rounds of women’s tennis with embarrassingly one-sided 6-0 scorelines.

And there’s the “Euro-ambitious” Tottenham Hotspurs losing 6-0 to Man City.

In the first instance a player is reminded of the gulf between her and the best.

In the latter, the manager gets the sack (again!).

The Ashes series seemed to fall in to the second category, with the sides expected to arm wrestle this summer. Yet the Poms have been smashed.

In the end, as someone described it, we have a victory but no idea how to rank it – like changing currency on the beach in Bali, its worth will only become apparent later. In the Aussies’ case, in South Africa.

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What triggers a one-sided result from evenly matched opponents? The pundits can’t be that far out. Though obviously unexpected, it is far from uncommon and we are invariably left shaking our heads, reassessing preconceptions and scrutinizing the loser as much as celebrating the victor.

Comments

  1. Crio – your question leaves me with 2 choices of response. The low road of bile laced innuendo, or the high road of psychological contemplation.
    Unusually I’ll take the high road thanks Eddie, as I’ve overdone the low road innuendo lately and would be overdue a whack in response if I tried it on.
    One of the great history books that I read many moons ago was Barbara Tuchman’s “The March of Folly”. She wrote history like a page turner novelist that captivated and enthralled.
    She took a few historical examples – the Americans in Vietnam; the British losing the US to the colonists in the War of Independence; and the Trojan Horse – to argue that a dominant power falls over when it concentrates power with too many “yes men” who tell the rulers what they want to hear.
    Hubris is at the core of the unexpected collapse of dominant powers. Weaker but canny oppositions exploit their arrogance and their refusal to adapt to changed circumstances.
    We can now add Lord Flower, Admiral Gooch and Captain Cook to the annals of George III and LBJ.

  2. matt watson says:

    Complacency triggers upsets. As does self belief from the opponent.
    I’m sure individuals and teams plan everything according to the available science.
    But as Mike Tyson once said, every fighter has a plan until they get punched in the mouth…
    Tyson should know. I could not believe he lost to James Buster Douglas and Evander Holyfield. How does anyone explain that?
    As Tyson said, he didn’t train right, which is complacency.
    In the Ashes, the Poms were complacent and Mitch Johnson was on fire.
    Teams that are complacent always seek excuses.
    Ron Barassi said winners don’t have excuses.
    Losers do, and sport being what it is, the rest of us want to analyse that too.

  3. E.regnans says:

    Good one Crio.
    I reckon Ned Kelly nailed it with his famous uttering: “such is life.”
    It’s simply the magic of everyday life that decides these things.
    It’s possible that favourites beat themselves. And of course 90 per cent of [insertsporthere] is half mental. Given that, and given that opponents raise themselves to knock off the favourites, perhaps we should be more surprised when a sporting dynasty actually eventuates.
    The poms’ recent dietary demands look foolish now.

    Ahh, I reckon it’s magic.

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