Why do we sometimes admire reverse of excellence?

By Paul Sassone

Paul Sassone

Today, we visit the I Don’t Get It Department.

There are so many things I just don’t get.

Sports fans, for instance.

My knowledge of sports is pretty shallow. But I know enough to know that Tom Brady of the New England Patriots is considered the greatest quarterback of all time. He is on his way to his eighth Super Bowl.

And sports fans hate him.

The only reason I can figure for this hatred is that Brady is too good.

I remember fans felt the same way about Tiger Woods when he was the greatest golfer in the world. He was too good.

And baseball fans hate the New York Yankees.

Why? Because they are too good.

Too good?

Would you hate Mozart because his music is too good?

Is the Mona Lisa too good?

When you stop to think about it, can anything good be too good?

Can something be so beautiful it becomes ugly?

The pursuit of excellence and its achievement seems to me to be what sports — all creative effort — is all about.

It would seem to make sense that the better an athlete or artist performs the more we would admire him or her.

To do something worth doing and to do it better than anyone is an accomplishment worth celebrating and admiring.

But that doesn’t seem to be how we think.

In fact, we often admire the reverse of excellence.

When Tiger Woods was on top there were plenty of sports fans who rooted for him to be beaten.

But now, when Woods’ skill seems to have deserted him he is the sentimental favorite whenever he competes.

Go figure.

I just don’t get it.


Why do we sometimes admire reverse of excellence?–