What Is A Shocker?
by L. Stewart Marsden
Yesterday I posted this on Facebook due to all of the comments about upsets going on in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament:
The only upset during March Madness are those that get beat. They are very upset!
And that seemed really cute until my team, Duke, was upset by Lehigh in Friday night’s game in Greensboro.
All the sports pundits seemed very surprised. Not surprised — shocked! Shocked! And Duke’s loss to Lehigh was a shocker!
Deep inside there has been this murmuring sense this college basketball season that the Blue Devils were not the same as teams before. When the guards hit on three-pointers, life was grand. But lately, the percentage of baskets on three point shots has been precipitously going down — like my gas gauge.
So, when the Blue Devils got into early foul trouble, couldn’t hit their threes, and were confounded by both the Lehigh defense and offensive blitzkrieg, I was neither surprised nor shocked. I was disappointed. Even Coach Krzyzewski (I now know why they use Coach “K”) didn’t mince words about losing:
“We’re not a juggernaut or anything like that . . . we just didn’t play well offensively the last few weeks of the season.” (theACC.com)
But, like me, Coach K was upset — well, considerably more upset, I’d say.
Did they play their best? I think we both know the answer to that. Was it a shocker? I think we both know the answer to that, as well. No, and no.
My favorite comedian, Bill Cosby, has a bit about comparing what we think are superlatives in life versus the Biblical account of the creation.
For example, Duane Wade makes a move going to the basket that leaves his defender flat-footed, and the announcers scream, “Awesome!”
Phil Mickelson swings an eight iron from the fairway that hits behind the hole, and spins backward and rolls to within inches of the cup, and the commentators whisper, “INCREDIBLE!”
God, in the meantime, creates the earth, the oceans, the land, the animals and vegetation, AND humankind. What’s the commentary on that? “And God saw that it was good.”
A dunk in basketball: AWESOME!
Creating the universe: good.
Nearly holing out an approach shot to the green: INCREDIBLE!
Creating all of the interdependent networks of life systems on earth: good.
So my point is — what is really a shocker? Duke losing to Lehigh? Or what Staff Sargent Robert Bales did to 16 innocent Afghanis as they slept last week?