Predicting the future in sports? No thanks.

I had an interesting thought the other day.

There’s a scene from one of the Back to the Future movies where Christopher Lloyd travels back in time with a list of the next World Series winners.  (I wonder if he had the San Francisco Giants on that list.)

Predicting the future would have to rank pretty high up there on the superpowers-we’d-most-like-to-have list.  Just imagine the possibilities.

First of all, we wouldn’t ever have to work again.  Investing (what’s left of) your 401K on one healthy wager would pretty much set you up for life, unless your name is Gordon Gekko.  And for a while, it’d be cool to impress your friends, a la Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, answering all the questions to Jeopardy before they’re even asked.

But as sports fans, if we knew the outcome of every game, every national championship, every World Series, every Super Bowl, would we still watch?  What would be the point?  One of the reasons we’re captivated by sporting events in the first place is that we never know when the unexpected will rear its inevitable head, when David will topple Goliath.  Constantly knowing what’s going to happen before it happens would eventually get tiresome, don’t you think?

With the advent of TiVo technology, many of us record games we aren’t able to watch, but we still can’t stand to be told the outcome.  “Don’t tell me the score!  I’m taping it!”  All of a sudden, some unsuspecting fan blurts out the final score and you hold a grudge for days.  You might as well not even watch.

That’s why fixing sporting events is such a huge deal.  When the outcome of a game is predetermined, what’s the sense in watching?  That’s why we have no sympathy for cheaters.  That’s why Tim Donaghy has been sent into exile.  That’s why Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose, two of baseball’s greatest hitters, remain outside the Hall of Fame for good.

We’ll watch our favorite movies a hundred times over, reciting them line for line.  They end the same way every time yet we still watch.  We don’t do that with sports.  How many times have you viewed, or reviewed, your favorite sporting event of all time in its entirety?  Three or four times, max?  I’ve seen Remember the Titans 25 times over but each Gator national championship game no more than twice.

Sports, and perhaps true love, are the last things we hold dear.  So I’ll skip the ability to predict the future for now, unless of course you can tell me who’s going to win this year’s Super Bowl.

16 thoughts on “Predicting the future in sports? No thanks.

  1. Heck, I can’t even remember who won LAST year’s Super Bowl.

    I can, however, remember as clear as day the Trojans win over Notre Dame in 1974—55-24 after trailing 24-0. Anthony Davis’ kickoff returns to TD will forever be etched in my mind.

    I need to get into this millenium’s mindset, lol.

  2. Uh…. it was the Saints, Liz. Tighten up.

    And how many times have you watched that USC-Notre Dame game in its entirety? And secondly, how many times have you seen your favorite movie?

  3. PJD…

    It’s nearly impossible to escape the person who says “Did you catch the score in that bla-bla-bla game?”

    I should know. I’m one of ’em.

    Which is part of the reason why I’m obsessed with watching things real-time. I don’t think I’m alone in this, am I, people?

  4. That’s why it’s so hard for me to believe in psychics. If they were any good the would be lying on a tropical beach somewhere, not working some psychic hotline.

  5. The closest thing we have to psychics, Aer, has to be the guys who set the lines in Las Vegas. They’re pretty damn close most of the time.

    And after going 12-1 last week, ACO seems to think he can see the future.

    I did pretty well with my picks this week as well, all without the use of a crystal ball.

  6. I guess you can take me off the list of knowing whats going to happen based solely on my predictions 🙂

    I think your right that you don’t really go back to relive your sports moments that much. I think lately (past 5 years) I really haven’t watched a movie more than two or three times.

    I wouldn’t mind knowing the future though. It would take up a lot less of my time watching my teams lose!

  7. Funny, Chap.

    Let me ask you this. What’s your favorite movie (or movies) of all-time and how many times have you seen them?

    Don’t get me wrong. I’ll pop in some Gator highlights from their back to back basketball championships. I even watched their first one against UCLA last year when ESPN Classic was showing it for March Madness.

    But, man, I’ve seen A Few Good Men, GoodFellas, Swingers, Zoolander, Big Lebowksi, Boogie Nights, Do The Right Thing a billion times over.

    Oh, and have you landed one of those new logo Warriors jerseys tees yet? Those things are sweet.

  8. Even though I am, at times,tempted to read the last few pages of a mystery, I refuse to give in. Half the fun is trying to figure out if you know who the murderer is.
    The greatest thrill in sports is to see your team win against overwhelming odds or to come back from sure defeat (Penn State vs. Ohio State last weekend)

  9. I’d say my most watched movie has to be Dumb and Dumber. I’ve seen that one countless times start to finish, and if it came on today I’d watch it. I think I’ve watched a lot of movies just as much, but not start to finish.

    I think the game I could stand to watch a few more times than I already have is that Boise St.-Oklahoma game. So many awesome plays it’s tough to not watch it when they throw it on ESPN classics…

    Yes, I got a hoodie with the new logo on it! I’m much more happy to sport this logo compared to the lightning bolts they used to have. Those didn’t even make sense!

  10. DB…

    Pretty wild year in the Big Ten, huh?

    Too bad you guys don’t have Michigan State on your schedule this year. That’d be some ballgame.

    Oh… and the butler did it.

  11. Chap…

    Dumb and Dumber, huh? That explains quite a bit.

    So you’re saying there’s a chance.

    You’re right about that Boise-Oklahoma game. I remember exactly where I was when I was watching that game.

    It’s funny. I went down with some buddies to the Florida-Oklahoma national championship game and was shooting the shit with some Boomer Sooners, who were all actually pretty cordial considering they lost the game.

    Those I spoke to STILL weren’t over that Boise loss.

    The old Statue of Liberty stinger.

    Try this for kicks some time. If you see an Oklahoma fan floating around, just say “Statue of Liberty” and watch him twitch uncontrollably.

    You may want to get a good head start running away though.

  12. Noted, I will test out your theory next time I run across an OU fan. Although I don’t really know any at the moment, so it may take awhile to get back to you on that one!

  13. It had been rumored that Jeter would remain a New York Yankees’ player for life. What’s the chance of him becoming a Met or Red Sox player if his alleged demands aren’t met ?

    Buckeyes’ university president should simply shut the f_ck up and not ingratiate himself by showing his ignorance concerning none BCS conference teams and their apparent weak schedules ! Do the Buckeyes really schedule any real teams on their none conference schedule ? Or is it always the Little Sisters Of The Poor repeatedly year in and year out ? Kirk Herbtstreit is now said to be extremely embarrassed by the statements attributed to F Gordon McGee.

    tophatal ……….. 🙂

  14. Al…

    Welcome back.

    I’ve been ragging on my Yankees buddies pretty relentlessly, telling them how good Jeter would look in either a Rays, Angels or God forbid Red Sox uniform.

    It’s good fun.

    And I was actually surprised to hear the OSU prez come out with a blast like that on smaller schools, but he was probably just trying to make a push for his own to get a BCS bid, which they essentially already had.

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