Sunday, July 15, 2012

C’mon! Really?

On page C3 of the Sunday morning edition of the Kenosha News there was a brief article titled “Ten teams alive at Rotary”. Something in the third paragraph immediately jumped out at me. Take a look and see if you can see what caught my eye. It was blatantly obvious to me.
DLB plays Coins/Jay Bee Auto in the semifinal 12:30 p.m. today at Lincoln No. 1. The winner advances to the championship round of the double-elimination tournament. The loser moves to the non-winners bracket and will need a victory to force a rematch in the title round.

Non-winners bracket. C’mon! Really?

I went back and read the entire article again. And again. And a fourth time. There it was – non-winners bracket. Not once, but twice. Non-winners bracket.

During roughly 20 years of softball, I was involved in close to 300 tournaments. Either I was managing the 400 Club in one or I was helping Sam “Finney” Perry and Leon Rosko run one at historic Finney’s West. Never once did I see or hear the phrase non-winners bracket.

Non-winners bracket. C’mon! Really?

People, it’s called the losers’ bracket. LOSERS’ BRACKET! Not the non-winners bracket. I must have drawn up over 200 bracket boards in my life and never once did I write the phrase non-winners bracket on one of those boards. Not once. It was always the losers’ bracket.

My 400 Club team played in tournaments all over southeastern Wisconsin. Not once in Kenosha, Racine, Salem, Kansasville, Whitewater, Elkhorn, Menomonee Falls or Milwaukee did we ever play in the non-winners bracket. Not once.

Over the years, we also played in Illinois and Minnesota. Each time we lost in one of those tournaments, we went into the losers’ bracket. It seemed appropriate enough. You lose, you go into the losers’ bracket. Not the non-winners bracket.

Non-winners bracket. C’mon! Really?

Here’s a blank 16-team double-elimination tournament bracket. Nowhere on it will you see the phrase non-winners bracket.

While the print is rather small, you may have noticed the phrase losers’ bracket. It’s on there, smack dab in the middle. Along with the word loser. In fact, the word loser is on there 33 times. That’s what happens when you don’t win. You lose. At least that’s what I thought until I read that article in the Kenosha News.

Now, evidently, when you do not win, you are declared to be a non-winner. As far as I can tell, based on the article, that’s what happens in the Rotary tournament now. Apparently, these are kinder, gentler times and feelings must be spared. We now have the non-winners bracket.

Non-winners bracket. C’mon! Really?

What’s next? It’s kind of unpleasant for an umpire to shout, “You’re out!” on a bang-bang play. The base runner might take it personally and require counseling. “You are non-safe” would be more suitable.

Not to offend pitchers, from now on, umpires should refer to balls as “non-strikes”. After all, the guys on the mound are sensitive and have feelings too.

Keeping in the spirit of things, perhaps the Kenosha News could change the name of its Sunday feature, Laurels and Darts. A dart is pointy and can hurt. I can see it now – “Laurels and Non-Laurels”. Much less hostile, don’t you think?

In all fairness, I’m not sure if it’s the Rotary Club that has coined the non-winner phrase or if the Kenosha News staff simply took it upon itself to be positive and upbeat. All I know is that before this morning I never saw the phrase non-winner.

Regardless of who came up with it, I think that from now on, the Rotary Club and the Kenosha News should co-sponsor orange slices for everyone playing in the tournament.

That’s right. Beginning next year, whether you’re a winner or a non-winner, all players at the end of a game would receive a sweet slice of orange. That way no one will have his or her feelings hurt.

Non-winners bracket. C’mon! Really?

Until next time…from the booth.

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