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?