Tuesday, March 5, 2013

We're Going Streaking!!

Get your head out of the gutter. I would never do that silly business. Especially when there's the possibility of children being around here.

Over the past couple of days, we've been hearing numerous bits of news about winning streaks and the like. In the NBA, the Miami Heat had just won their fifteenth-straight game, and the Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL have played 22 consecutive games in which they have gained points in the season standings (i.e. a win is two points, a "tie" is one point) and could possibly grow to 23 by Tuesday's end.

Needless to say, both of these streaks are ridiculously impressive, and it's a very good reason to watch these teams play. You'd hate to see a streak end, but you would also like to watch it grow as well. Regardless of how much longer both teams go along with their respective streaks, both teams should be happy with how incredibly well they have been playing.

However...this isn't the real reason why I'm writing this post.
(crowd gasp)
Oh c'mon, did you really think I was going to go the easy route on this one? Don't be silly.

Now because there are people out there that like to argue about everything and assume to be right about everything, there's the age-old question being thrown around: Which one is the best? We can make multiple arguments based on overall athleticism required for the sport, but believe me, it goes much deeper than a lame-duck argument like that.

Yeah, I'm going here...Which ongoing streak is more impressive?

I really had to think about this. Since we're talking about two different sports here, we're trying to divide by zero and compare apples to oranges. We have a sport that's played on ice as opposed to a sport played on hardwood flooring, and we also have a sport that supports the continual overtime as opposed to a single overtime leading to a shootout. There are major differences in "winning" and "earning points" when you take a good look at each sport.

Both sports can really drain the life out of you. While hockey includes a lot of skating and not as much "stop and start running" like in basketball, there's the incorporation of padding and the extra physicality that comes with the sport, so it's impossible to make the argument that basketball players are more athletic and have more stamina, making the Heat's streak much more impressive. While basketball is much more slower-paced than hockey, it's also slightly more strategic and just as momentum-based, therefore debunking the argument that hockey can be a quick switch and that the Blackhawks have a more impressive streak based on their handling of momentum. They're even.

We could mention the "star players" that each team has, but when you have a streak going, you can't just attribute these things to your stars. Keeping something like this alive requires the whole team to put effort into the game. Besides, what if someone gets hurt? Clearly if someone gets hurt, someone has to make up for that and keep the fight going. The Heat have their main three in James, Bosh, and Wade, along with guys like Mario Chalmers and Ray Allen. The Blackhawks have their captains in Toews, Sharp, and Keith, along with other guys like Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane. Those are some pretty good squads, and they have the guns to back up in case of injury. In my eyes, they're still even here.

Some dude on ESPN (I'm not gonna mention names because I actually do respect the guy) actually claimed that the Heat has the more impressive streak because the Blackhawks have three "ties." Wait a minute. Ties? Why does the third number always have to be a "tie?" In the NHL, the "tie" number is a technicality which represents overtime games and shootouts. Since that doesn't exist in the NBA, there is the simplistic win-loss record. Ties are a slippery slope that stopped their existence in the NHL after the 2004-2005 lockout, and they have helped bring a little more excitement to the league. Let's admit it here: Wouldn't you be pretty upset if an NBA game just happened to stop after one overtime? Of even if an NFL--wait...NFL games still have that problem (and for legitimate reasons, mind you). Nevermind.

What should really matter is the overall play against opposing teams. Sure, it may be impressive to get a decisive win over a rival or a team just as good (if not better), but it's also just as impressive to stave them off in overtime or in a shootout. What it all boils down to is whether you walk out of there with a win or a loss. It shouldn't matter how you get it as long as it's a clean one, right? Both teams ride their own respective momentum and take every skill and push it to their limits. It takes a lot of grit and determination to keep something alive, and regardless of whether it's basketball, hockey, or any other sport, it's truly admirable.

I'm not copping-out on this argument; I'm only saying that both are equally as impressive for the respective sports that they play. C'mon, you have to admit that it's not easy to win 15-straight games even with the roster that you have or go 22 (possibly 23) games recording a point with a jam-packed and rigorous schedule due to the NHL lockout. There isn't a definitive answer pointing to either the Heat or the Blackhawks. If they were in the same league, then we could have a better argument.

Why are we arguing about this, anyway? Just be thankful that the NHL has a season this year and that the NBA hasn't had a major financial collapse after their previous lockout. Now get back to work and stop fighting, you people.