November 23, 2016
What’s with 2016? Odds makers and all you prediction types appear to be having a bad year. I am sure there were other times in history when the current events of the day were so erratic and whacked out that reading the daily newspaper was an exercise in futility. The things you once took for granted are now being flipped on their head and people are left scratching themselves. 2017 looks like more of the same so hold onto those tarot cards and tea leaves.
How do you explain Donald Trump? Was it because of the Super moon which won’t be seen again for another seventy-five years. Trump, love him or hate him did show everybody a new way of doing things. No matter how inflammatory he may have sounded, he figured out a secret that others scoffed at. So that brings us to the Chicago Cubs and the city of Cleveland who finally got a parade to celebrate and give their fans a good reason to have unbridled joy. After 109 years, the Cubbies finally found the right recipe of players that got them over the hump. It’s uncanny that all of the 108 years prior to their championship they didn’t have the right concoction of players, management and good fortune. As far as the Cleveland Cavaliers, it took an all-world effort by their two superstars, LeBron and Kyrie Irving to give their city a trophy to hang their head on. Okay maybe a mantle or trophy case would be a better place to put their one trophy on.
It doesn’t stop there; professional golf had three first time winners in their majors. Danny Willet won the Masters, Henrik Stenson won the Open Championship in Scotland and Jimmy Walker won the PGA Championship, not exactly household names unless you are a golf junkie. Professional women’s tennis gave us Angelique Kerber from Germany, who has been playing professionally since 2003 and finally broke through and won two major tourneys. She had to pass through the mountain called Serena Williams before she could achieve her victories.
In college men’s basketball, who would have picked Villanova to win the whole enchilada. It’s been 30 years since they won the big one and they too had to slay some big schools to achieve the prize. Maybe not so unpredictable but still awesome in retrospect is Usain Bolts achievement of 3 gold medals at the Summer games. That’s nine gold medals, nine events spanning three Olympic Games, a superhuman effort and making him one of the most revered athletes of all time. There should also be a shout out to Peyton Manning, the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl. Somehow, he got through that season without being demolished by throwing fluttering passes to his receivers.
With all of this unpredictable winning going on maybe it’s not just coincidence. Maybe we are reaching new levels of enlightment in training and competing. Maybe it’s because money doesn’t always buy championships and now there is more money than ever in sports. In prior years a smart millionaire could put together a good team and they could compete for the championship. Now we have billionaires running teams and they will throw money at as many good players as they can.
Whatever the trend may be, sports fans will be seeing more and more of these types of unpredictable victors and winners. There are only a few dynasties left in sports so it’s more of an open field of competitors. Don’t be surprised if Henry Winklebaum wins the Master next year, he is 40 years old, never won anything but somehow plays like Tiger Woods for four days. How will he do it? He will train vigorously using a virtual reality training regimen and sleep in an environmental chamber. It could happen, but don’t quite throw down a bet yet. Welcome to the new normal.