“There is only one place in my game and that is first place.”- Vince Lombardi
This wise quote speaks volumes, and it is true without a doubt. Vince Lombardi was surely on to something.
It doesn’t matter what place you finish in, if it’s not first place, it doesn’t matter. 2nd place, 3rd place, 777th place: these are all irrelevant, and don’t matter, the only one that does matter is 1st place.
Today was the 3rd place game in the Women’s World Cup between Sweden and France. Sweden defeated France 2-1, but that’s not important. The important thing is the absurdity of the game itself.
In the World Cup, after group play, the rules are; if your team loses a game, your team is eliminated from the tournament. Then how come the teams that lose in the semifinals play 1 more game to decide between 3rd place and 4th place? The answer is money, even though, in the big picture, 3rd place is irrelevant, by playing this game, both FIFA and ESPN make money off of advertisements and viewership worldwide. It is ridiculous that we can let money get in the way, and allow for this game to be played.
The true spirit of sports and other competition is that the ultimate goal is to finish in first place, and not any other place, just first place.
In the NFL, there is the NFC Championship game, and the AFC Championship game; the winners of these 2 games play each other in the Super Bowl. You never see the loser of one of these games start celebrating because they finished in 3rd place. I couldn’t imagine players of the losing team being interviewed after the game:
“Yes! Yes! My dream has finally come true! We finished in 3rd place! Whoo hoo!”
Then why do the Swedish Women’s soccer players start celebrating and acting like animals after defeating France to finish in 3rd place in the Women’s World Cup? Because 3rd place games twist up and ruin the spirit of competition, and are terrible for sports.
The 3rd place game is by far the most absurd and unnecessary game in sports.
I surely hope that FIFA will soon realize this, and abolish the 3rd place game for good.
Until then, we’ll just have to keep celebrating mediocrity.
By Sam Brief