What Is Your Best?

Had another contentious encounter on twitter today, this time it was about what makes a league “the best”.

Best is defined by American Heritage Dictionary as:

Surpassing all others in excellence, achievement, or quality; most excellent.

So, what does make a league the best?
It really made me think. First I started to list all the things I thought would make the best league, but then I realized I was creating “the ideal”, which to me is not the same. To me, the best is comparing what exists and picking the one that surpasses all others, but surpasses them in what ways?

Does money spent make a league the best? If individual teams in a league are allowed to spend whatever they like, and that results in one or two or even 3 top teams and the rest (maybe as many as 9) of the teams are meh at best, does that make that league the best? I think, no.

Could it be venue? Uniforms? Media? Social interaction? Again, I think, no. All of those things surely go into a team that fans like, but does it make them the best? No.

What about a coach? Do the best coaches make a league the best? Coaches, like money spent, doesn’t always translate into the best teams. So once again, I must say no.

Surely it must be the players. If you have the best players in your league, you must have the best league, right? Unfortunately that also doesn’t translate into the best teams. Again, no.

I started to see a pattern in my thoughts, it always came down to the best teams. All of the things a team needs; money, support, coaches, players have to come together to create the best teams. That has to be it. The best league has to have the best teams! Nope. A single league having all the best teams is a tournament, not a league.

So, seriously, what would make the best league, to me? Pretty simple when I really thought it through. Parity. Sounds simple, right? Every team able to compete on fairly equal footing with every other team in the league. Few, if any blowouts. Lots of close games. Down to the wire playoffs. And every team has a good chance to be there in the end. No teams written off before the season even starts.

Every league has it’s problems. Some are cash poor. Some treat players horribly. Some are operated as an afterthought or a tax loss write-off. Some are successful and continue to operate year after year. Some understand it is as much about the passion of the fans and the life long desires of the players as it is about anything else. Some lose the plot.

But the best leagues; the best leagues put it all together and give us the best effort at making all the components work together to put a quality product on the pitch, at every game, all season long.

And that’s my best, what’s yours?

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I Love Ruining Other Teams’ Seasons..

The title of this post is the gist of a tweet (if not the exact quote) made by an American playing in the Frauen Bundesliga. Her 4th place team had just beaten the 2nd place team  and eliminated them from Champions League play the following season. By losing, the 2nd place team relinquished their spot to the 3rd place team in Champions League play next year.

Yes, it sounds a little confusing if you don’t follow European football. But the details of how Champions League works isn’t really important. What I think is important is the twitter conversation I had following her tweet.

Full disclosure: I favorited her tweet. I am also a fan of team 2 and team 4. I’m not going to quote tweets or name names. I’ll paraphrase. If I don’t do the conversation justice, the parties involved can correct me in the comments, but I’ll do my best to give an honest portrayal of the conversation.

The offending tweet was made, followed very quickly by OP (offended parties): ‘that’s why I don’t follow her anymore’ and ME (my reply) ‘it’s young bravado and killer spirit’.

OP: I don’t want a player that finds joy in sorrow of others, tweets show lack of respect.

ME: Her motivation is to be a spoiler and I don’t think team earned respect this season.

OP:She should shut up, play and learn. She didn’t need to say she enjoys ruining another team’s season, period. Backlash was understandable/inevitable.

ME: I don’t see it that way. Maybe it’s an ugly American thing. Although she could have said it better, she spoke her truth.

OP: Other Americans wouldn’t/don’t talk shit about their opponents. Be happy for yourself, not because someone else is sad.

ME: They think it, they just don’t tweet it. Seen worse tweeted by fans at players. What’s the difference in 3rd place team players thanking 4th place for defeating 2nd place?

OP: Players tweet for clubs, different accountability. 3 needed 4 to win, different.

ME: Players should also be able to tweet their truth, she tweeted after game. Thinking: 3 needed 4 to BEAT 2..same thing.

I think we ended amicably enough, although definitely not in agreement.

It bears mentioning that the player quickly deleted the tweet when objections were made to her, specifically.

Here’s my take on it. The game is a competition. The league is a competition. You try everything in your power to legally win and if you succeed you get the right to gloat a little.The 4th place team had little to play for other than to defeat the 2nd place team and spoil their chance to advance to CL play next year. Their win did not advance them on the ladder and brings no benefits, other than another away win.

If spoiling another team’s chance to advance is your motivation, use it. It’s legal, although some would not see it as ethical, I am not among them. No harm is done to anyone by expressing that sentiment. No injuries are caused and if someones feelings get hurt, it might be their perspective that needs to be checked first.

We all get passionate about the teams we support and some think players should be held to some unjustified higher standard. I look up to players and teams I support, but don’t think they are saints and don’t expect them to behave that way. I expect them to be fair, to be human in all respects and to make comments and decisions I take issue with, but I do not expect them to be something none of us are..perfect.

I will defend the tweet and player in question every time, if I do not sense hostility or a call to violence. It might have been insensitive to tweet it so close to the loss, but I don’t feel it was intended to hurt anyone.

If you have another perspective, I’d love to hear it in the comments.