Apparently 2013 is the year of the ‘streak’ in the world of college and professional athletics. Streaking is more than Will Ferrell heading off to the quad in ‘Old School’ because it really does captivate sports fans and even those aren’t nearly as interested. During Miami’s recent 27-game winning streak, ESPN as it usually does, spent enormous amounts of times covering the Heat from every possible angle. Even national news outlets were leading off with the Heat’s streak in their opening news segments.
Streaks captivate us because so many of us have competed in a wide variety of competitions whether they be sports-related or a dance contest or a marching band competition. We all know how hard it can be to win one time let alone numerous times in a row and therefore the competitor in us takes time to comprehend the difficulty of doing it.
We know much about streaks in the National Basketball Association where the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets and of course the Miami Heat all had impressive streaks during the current season. In the National Hockey League, the season opened with the amazing run of the Chicago Blackhawks who opened with 24 straight games of not being beaten. Currently, the Pittsburgh Penguins have a 14-game winning streak and have clearly laid claim being the best team in hockey right now and are the Stanley Cup favorites for sure.
Some sports find it clearly harder than others to perform streaks. Think of the individual sports like golf for example. The great Byron Nelson once won 11 straight tournaments. Take a second to fathom that. 11 straight! Tiger Woods wins a couple of tournaments in the same month and we celebrate it as ‘momentous.’
Yes, we can clearly debate ad nauseum the differences in sports and the competition levels and the eras in which they were achieved, but that should not diminish the merit of any streak regardless of the endeavor.
Most people aren’t even aware of the most impressive streak in North American sports right now and that is simply because of the sport it takes place in. The University of Minnesota’s Women’s hockey team recently won their second consecutive national title and extended their winning streak in the process to 49 straight games. Keep in mind this a ‘winning streak’ not an unbeaten streak. That means no ties whatsoever.
Like I said before, I don’t care what sport or event the streak is in, when you throw together that many wins in a row, then you are doing something very right and very well.
Streaks aren’t always skill and talent though. Luck can certainly play a part in streaks as can just pure grittiness. During the Blackhawks streak, they had a couple of very close calls where they were trailing late in games but got goals to push the games into overtime where they’d be victorious.
Miami’s famous moment of course came in Cleveland where they rallied from 27 points down in the second half to win. Probably more talent than anything in this case, but still impressive and another one of those moments where streaks could have easily come to a grinding halt.
Another reason I like streaks is that wagering on or against them can bring some really provocative action. I’d be willing to bet Vegas had better than normal NBA action whenever the Heat were playing during their run. I’m also willing to bet many had Chicago pegged as one of the teams that were potentially going to end the Heat’s streak.
For you, it definitely creates a little more excitement when wagering because who doesn’t want to be the guy holding the betting slip that says, “I called the streak ending and I have the evidence right here!”
Now who’s streaking?