Why Does Everyone Hate Luck?

Submitted by Ziff72 on August 17th, 2010 at 2:35 PM

The BHGP silly rant and subsequent posts reminded me of one of the things that drives me nuts about the sports world.  The refusal of media, fans and players to just accept luck.

Luck is involved extensively in every football game played but it appears the worst thing you could say to someone after a game is to say "you got lucky".   I assume that people internalize that as "so what you are saying is that we didn't deserve to win and that you are not granting us the spoils of our conquest, you are a bad sport and a scumbag, surrender to me you are the vanquished".

The 1st time this really got to me was during the Wings Stanley Cup final when they were swept by the Devils.   I believe it was game 3 that the Wings played very well but lost late when a puck took a strange bounce behind the net that lead to a NJ goal.   I woke up to Keith Gave(from the Freep ironically, man do they get shitty writers) on WDFN saying how the Wings had no heart and that they were outworked blah blah blah, I called and asked him if he jotted down column notes during the game and that if the puck had deflected differently if he would have still wrote that they were outworked and how he was full of crap.   We yelled back and forth for a while and I got nowhere with the doofus, but from that day forward whenever I see a close game I'm always amazed at the polarizing reaction from media and fans on both sides depending on what happened on a random play.

Iowa was lucky last year, anyone with 2 eyes can see that.   They were also a very good team that overcame a lot of bad luck in terms of injury.  Nothing wrong with accepting both things in my book.    We as Michigan fans of all people can appreciate the breaks of luck that have wrecked or helped our seasons over the last 40 years.

Luckiest that come to mind-S. Springs slipping to the ground allowing T. Streets to score untouched.

Unluckiest- A lot to choose from but I still say the condition of OSU's turf and our subsequent shoe choices in 06 was a big factor in  that game.  Our defense looked like they were wearing ice skates in the secondary and it neutralized our pass rush.






August 17th, 2010 at 2:41 PM ^

It stems from the fact that the purpose of competing is to "prove" who is best. In many contests, it's so blatantly obvious which side is better that luck doesn't come into the equation, but when two teams are close enough that a game is decided by one or two plays, we've gotta grasp at straws to prove/disprove the outcome.

IME, that's what makes sports, especially college football, fun. If every game proved definitively which team is better overall, the transitive property would be legitimate and we'd have very little to discuss.

The what-ifs are what make the highs so epically high and the lows so devastatingly low. Bro-hugs and dong-punches abound; that's why we love it so much.


August 17th, 2010 at 2:46 PM ^

For the most part, we watch Michigan football to see the greatest collegiate athletes perform at the highest level.  Games decided upon a lucky play are tantamount to dramatized coin flips.  Still exciting in the heat of the moment, but patently unsatisfying whatever the result.

You're correct that luck has its place in sports, and we should accept it.  But you can still hate something you've come to accept.  Much like in-laws.


August 17th, 2010 at 3:25 PM ^

When you win, you don't ever want it to be the result of luck because it means that you don't deserve to win.  When the other teams wins a game that you deserved to win, it is the result of luck.  So when you win, luck brings you disrepute, and when you lose, loss was brought to you unfairly through luck.  So luck blows. 




August 17th, 2010 at 3:34 PM ^

i think people hate luck b/c it violates our innate sense of fairness.  we want the winners to be the hardest workers, the most talented, the smartest, etc.  turns out it doesn't always work that way.  since we always look for explanations that confirm our beliefs, we eschew luck, even when proven, and just say the "better" team won.


August 17th, 2010 at 3:41 PM ^

My beef is people want to take down other's accomplishments by saying--or trying to prove it mathematically--its all luck.....without ever taking into consideration how luck also works against the same team.

Its a contest. Luck/fortune/getting the breaks eventually come into play. But, its amazing how many good teams get accused of doing it by just luck. Perhaps there is a correlation there.

Iowa is a perfect example. Of course, they've had a ton of breaks. But six losses by 22 combined points also lets you know they had so breaks going against them or they could be two-team defending league champs.

It works both ways, but too many folks on this site only see this luck thing as a one-way street and, imhe, diminish what other programs in this league have accomplished.

Pay the Dragon

August 17th, 2010 at 3:50 PM ^

I feel that in most cases you make your own luck.  A ball bounces a certain way and a person that is there makes the play.  The person that hustled to get there usually is called lucky but put themselves in the right position to make themselves lucky by hustling or being heads up. 


August 17th, 2010 at 4:07 PM ^

To some extent, luck has to do with being prepared when an opportunity comes.  I'm sure there were many opportunities for good fortune the last couple years upon which our young players did not capitalize.