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Old 07-10-2011, 03:17 AM   #1
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Question In hindsight do you prefer to finish 2nd or 3rd?

You see the devastation of when a tennis player loses a grand slam final (though less devastation if the losing finalist was a heavy underdog and unseeded etc.), whereas losing the semi-final seems like something people forget rather easily.

And in NBA Finals it seems like the losing team is an absolute failure and the stars of the losing team are beat up badly by the media (LeBron for example).

And even in junior sport, you make a grand final but lose, and its very disappointing, whereas if you lose in the semi-final it feels more positive like 'we had a great season' etc.

So do you feel the 2nd place finish is a great enough achievement to overshadow the bitter pill of losing at the final hurdle? Or is 3rd place the preferred result if you can't win?
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Old 07-10-2011, 03:27 AM   #2
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Default Re: In hindsight do you prefer to finish 2nd or 3rd?

I think both are difficult in some ways.

But I've read that many Olympic athletes who win a bronze medal are happier with their performance than those who win silver, because when you end up second, wonder what you did to miss out on the gold or whether your could've performed better. Also, when there's a third place playoff like in the last Olympics with Novak and I think Blake, the winner feels a lot better because still made the podium, while the runner-up feels disappointed he couldn't win in the final.
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Old 07-10-2011, 03:31 AM   #3
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Default Re: In hindsight do you prefer to finish 2nd or 3rd?

If you're not in the final, you can't win it, so second will always top third.
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Old 07-10-2011, 03:34 AM   #4
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Default Re: In hindsight do you prefer to finish 2nd or 3rd?

If your asking whether I'd rather come 2nd than 3rd, then the answer is 2nd.
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Old 07-10-2011, 03:45 AM   #5
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Default Re: In hindsight do you prefer to finish 2nd or 3rd?

Definitely 3rd... losing a final must be the worst feeling in the world. When losing a semi, it must be easier to accept that you're not the best, than when you're missing out on just one match.
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Old 07-10-2011, 03:48 AM   #6
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Default Re: In hindsight do you prefer to finish 2nd or 3rd?

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Originally Posted by jayjay View Post
If you're not in the final, you can't win it, so second will always top third.
I'm asking in 'hindsight' so its a reflective thought after the event. So winning the final isn't an option.

But sometimes even before the event I hear fans of Federer regretting that Federer had made the Final because a loss to Rafa was seen as inevitable, especially on clay.
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Old 07-10-2011, 03:53 AM   #7
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Default Re: In hindsight do you prefer to finish 2nd or 3rd?

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I think both are difficult in some ways.

But I've read that many Olympic athletes who win a bronze medal are happier with their performance than those who win silver, because when you end up second, wonder what you did to miss out on the gold or whether your could've performed better. Also, when there's a third place playoff like in the last Olympics with Novak and I think Blake, the winner feels a lot better because still made the podium, while the runner-up feels disappointed he couldn't win in the final.
I've noticed that too.

I agree
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Old 07-10-2011, 04:04 AM   #8
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Default Re: In hindsight do you prefer to finish 2nd or 3rd?

It you don't come first, you don't come at all.
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Old 07-10-2011, 04:20 AM   #9
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Default Re: In hindsight do you prefer to finish 2nd or 3rd?

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Originally Posted by nadal_slam_king View Post
I'm asking in 'hindsight' so its a reflective thought after the event. So winning the final isn't an option.

But sometimes even before the event I hear fans of Federer regretting that Federer had made the Final because a loss to Rafa was seen as inevitable, especially on clay.
In that case, the answer is still second in my view. Losing a final hurts and is hard, but there is plenty to be learned in the long run from such an experience. You showed an image of Dirk/LeBron, 5 years ago it was Dirk's Mavs who lost in the finals to Miami. This time around he was clearly better for that harsh experience.

Wishing you'd rather lost in the semis than the final is exactly the kind of negative thinking that would hinder you from ever making a final or winning one, to begin with.

Re: Federer fans example. That just comes down to fandom and not wanting Nadal to further put a dent in their H2H finals record with respect to how others then judge Federer's legacy.

I'm sure if you asked Federer if he'd rather lose a semi-final to someone who isn't the best clay courter in the world, rather than to the best clay courter in the world in the final - his answer would be the latter.

Some of his fans might wish differently, but that's irrelevant, as Federer is surely far more resilient than that.

On personal experiences, I fucking hated losing in semis (I played mostly team sports rather than individual). There is a sense of completion if you reach the final, even if you end up losing. Being so close to where you wanted to be - as in the final - and not getting there, as far as I'm concerned, is a very bitter pill to swallow.

Last edited by jayjay : 07-10-2011 at 04:26 AM.
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Old 07-10-2011, 05:02 AM   #10
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Default Re: In hindsight do you prefer to finish 2nd or 3rd?

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Old 07-10-2011, 05:56 AM   #11
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Default Re: In hindsight do you prefer to finish 2nd or 3rd?

second is the rational answer but humans arent rational and neither is the public

a clear example is ivan lendl, a former player who is often criticized for losing many GS finals when maybe he should be praised for getting to that many finals. yet, i have never heard anyone praising lendl for reaching them... i'm pretty sure that if he hadn't reached so many GS finals but had won the same number of GS he has now, he'd be more respected by the tennis community. in the extreme case, if he had been 8-0 in GS finals, he'd be regarded as some sort of legend and the praise he'd get for his mentality for winning 'when it matters' would far exceed the virtually non-existant praise he doesnt get for being consistent in GS and reaching many GS finals.
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Old 07-10-2011, 06:09 AM   #12
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Default Re: In hindsight do you prefer to finish 2nd or 3rd?

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Originally Posted by abraxas21 View Post
second is the rational answer but humans arent rational and neither is the public

a clear example is ivan lendl, a former player who is often criticized for losing many GS finals when maybe he should be praised for getting to that many finals. yet, i have never heard anyone praising lendl for reaching them... i'm pretty sure that if he hadn't reached so many GS finals but had won the same number of GS he has now, he'd be more respected by the tennis community. in the extreme case, if he had been 8-0 in GS finals, he'd be regarded as some sort of legend and the praise he'd get for his mentality for winning 'when it matters' would far exceed the virtually non-existant praise he doesnt get for being consistent in GS and reaching many GS finals.
Very true.
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Old 07-10-2011, 06:12 AM   #13
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Default Re: In hindsight do you prefer to finish 2nd or 3rd?

If i were in Olympics, ideal between two would be winning semi, losing final like 2-6 4-6. Not humiliating, not close. Humiliating loss for 2nd next, then finishing third, and worst would be losing final like 6-4 6-7 8-10
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Old 07-10-2011, 08:03 AM   #14
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Default Re: In hindsight do you prefer to finish 2nd or 3rd?

Well for sure it is obvious finishing 2nd is a greater achievement than finishing 3rd. But the regret is far greater when you finish 2nd IF YOU BELIEVE YOU COULD HAVE WON. It may haunt the athlete for a lifetime. Not saying a SF can't be disappointing, but clearly not the same as losing a Final. So you'd have to weigh up which you can deal with more, being haunted by a heartbreaking loss OR accepting a 3rd place finish. Some people take loss better than others.

Of course, this is a generalization. I'm sure Baggy and Gonzo aren't haunted by losing to Federer in those Australian Open Finals. They probably feel honored knowing their name will be in the record books as an opponent of Federer in a GS Final. Nothing else either have done will be mentioned as much as this in tennis history.
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Old 07-10-2011, 03:14 PM   #15
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Default Re: In hindsight do you prefer to finish 2nd or 3rd?

I've competed myself (not in tennis but in other sports) and I gotta say I prefer the silver. Why? Because for me it's just as tough losing a tight semi-final as it is losing a final.
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