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Madness from March is over April 7, 2009

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Grab Bag.
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The title game for the NCAA Men’s Championship played out as expected last night. The more talented, athletic team won last night and that clearly was UNC. They took advantage of their opponents’ mistakes and executed their plays consistently. It was a rout mid-way through the 1st half. Not good for TV ratings as you want a close game to watch. Also, not so good for the underdog.  Read the game summary from espn here.

The sub plot of David vs. Goliath was talked up a lot by the media. The underdog Mich. St, playing in nearby Detroit was the sympathetic people’s champion. A win by Mich. St. would be a win for everyone in Michigan. A feel good story and a sign that our nation is on the road to recovery. Baloney. While Mich. St. had a good run, they were outclassed by a more talented opponent. The media under talked the game between these teams earlier in the season. Same team won last night and the 1st game was also a blow out.

We always pull for the underdog and want to see them triumph despite having the odds against. them. Did not happen last night. The better team won. The madness from this years’ tournament is now over. A team that was ranked #1, had players committed to and focused on winning the title achieved their goal. Congratulations to UNC as the winner, they earned their championship.

In sports, when we root for the underdog, do we feel let down when the better team wins? If you are unbiased, the tendency is to root for the non-favored team. Is that part of our national character? Do we identify more with the potential loser vs. the winner? We put up money on David to overcome Goliath.  When David wins, we win also. Not only with the winnings but also get a sense of accomplishment, beating the odds, a indirect can-do feeling. It is cathartic;  a Walter Mitty scenario with no impact to us in the real world.

In business, we want the sure thing. The risk and down side with the underdog solution is not favored. You would not risk your career/reputation on a Walter Mitty based-fantasy that requires an all-success, stars aligned, fingers crossed, and, this time I mean it, business proposal, would you? If you did, how did that work out? Are you still in business?

The predictable, known quantity is preferred for the obvious reasons.  Described in the Black Swan book, we don’t plan for the unexpected happening very often.  The impact of the unlikely, improbable event is not something we tend to spend time on.   That is a type of madness we don’t want to use as a business model. Unless, you can see the opportunity and manage risks better than your competition.  If you become proficient at that, I might even put you in my bracket next year when the madness begins again next March.

Until then, I’ll be watching the Yankees as tThe season for the great American past time just started yesterday. Not on a good note either as their newest highly paid pitcher looked awful. Did not have his ‘stuff’ from the beginning. More on baseball with my Walter Mitty escapes as the season goes on.

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