Tuesday, July 19, 2011

07/19 (Choke or No Choke?) Quickie

A lot of smart folks I respect seem to really dislike the idea that others labeled a "choke" what the US women's national soccer team did on Sunday in the Women's World Cup final.

Somehow, the "choke" label is simplistic, talk-radio-ish, no-real-fan-would-say-that bunk. Normally, I'm inclined to agree with smart folks -- in this case, I disagree.

Oh, I think that some largely soccer-ignorant fools in sports media are using "choke" like a blunt instrument. But I think that chokery is one of the most compelling things in sports.

It's no shame to choke -- it is perhaps the most human of any result you'll find in sports, even more than championship efforts by an underdog.

Among the anti-choke camp, hidden behind the pretentious "there's-no-nuance-in-choke-analysis" attitude is a weird paternalism, as if people want to protect the team from critical analysis of how they played -- analysis that absolutely can and should include the notion that the team unraveled at the end, with victory almost assuredly in hand.

"Pressure Makes Us" was a wonderful ad campaign for the team -- I suspect they would want to be held to no less of a standard than "championship or failure."

If we can't have an intelligent discussion about the totality of the USWNT's efforts -- from the "never-say-die" attitude to the late-game chokery -- then we do them and us a disservice.

-- D.S.

1 comment:

D. Coby said...

i have to agree with you. many sports reporters are using choked and getting hammered for it, however its the truth. In the sports world winning equals success and losing is a synonym for failure. when a team has that win-and all the glory that comes with it-in its grasp and lets it slip through its fingers,then choke is not only an acceptable assessment,it is the correct one. we cant on one hand condemn the miami heat for blowing a 16 point lead in 6 minutes, and then on the other hand excuse the u.s.w.n.t from losing a lead twice. double standards should b unacceptable in all forms, not just when it is against women.