Came across an excellent article by Rohit Brijnath about brilliance and domination and how that is never boring.
Let me tell you my take on it. There is a certain part of me as a sports fan that wants to see some team dominate their opponents. There is another part of me though, that wants to create a contendor, and hopefully a rivalry. Two or three people (or teams) who are equally good in skills and talent and who could win on any given day, would be much better for me to follow, than one individual/team completely dominating all the time.
That’s why I did not like (and still don’t) Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls.
That’s why I am not liking the current state of Formula 1.
That’s why I truly did not like Steve Waugh’s Australian cricket team, and I do not like the Ricky Ponting’s current team.
That’s why I would not watch Sampras playing at Wimbledon.
In fact, in all of these cases, I would actually hope that a rank outsider would beat them.
I don’t follow much of football, so I will pass on Arsenal.
Mind you, it is not like I did not like them at all at any given point. I liked Jordan, Tiger and Schumacher as athletes. I loved to watch the Australian team playing awesome cricket, redefinig a lot of philosophies prevalent in cricket at the time. But once they start dominating for a while, they do make it less and less exciting for a lay sports follower like me.
True, the purists would say, like Brijnath says and like it is aruged on a blog, brilliance and domination is actually perfection on display. If you really really love the sport, you won’t mind domination as displayed my Schumacher, as displayed by Jordan and Tiger and the Aussie team.
But I don’t agree. I have seen enough of pure cricket. I have seen enough of pure driving. I have seen enough of buzzer-beater shots by Jordan. It is more exciting to see rivalries.
John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors.
Ivan Lendl, Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker.
Schumacher and Hakkinen.
Senna and Prost. Add Mansell, Lauda to the list.
Lakers and Celtics of the 80’s.
Yankees and Red Sox.
Michigan and Ohio State.
and so on.
Its rivalries that make the game more exciting from spectators’ long term point of view.
Yes, it is cool to see a team or a players completely dominate the opponents once in a while. It has to happen otherwise we are encouraging mediocrity. But for the long term, it is good to see a change. Dynasties are good, but complete domination by a team in creating a dynasty is very bad for the sport.
At least that is my point. What’s yours?