The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Columns

March 12, 2014

Jim Bailey: Prohibitive favorites? That's why they play the games

(Continued)

Again, humans are not machines. And that’s not to say that machines are perfectly consistent either. Witness the unpredictability of NASCAR races, where the finest combinations of cars, drivers and mechanics can go from dominance one week to struggling the next. Or from the fastest thing on the track one moment to victim of a grinding crash in the blink of an eye.

Dedicated athletes aim for peak performance with endless practice, top-flight coaching and dedication to perfection. Your average sports fan only sees the end result when they hit the playing field, pool or slopes with expertise that makes their performances look automatic.

But nobody can predict the intangibles: how an athlete feels on a given day, the effects of jet lag en route, conditions of the venue, ability to block out off-court struggles of various sorts.

In spite of all the press clippings and endless lists of accomplishments, that’s why they go ahead and play the games. And may the best man or woman on that particular day win.

Jim Bailey’s column appears on Thursday. He can be reached by email at jameshenrybailey@earthlink.net.

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