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Discussion: Why Play Down?

Posted Discussion
April 26, 2008
Men's 60
246 posts
Why Play Down?
Why do teams want to play down. I do not understand the mind set and honestly want to know what the thinking is.

Is it more of an accomplishment to have a stacked team and win a AAA or AA tournament then to compete in major or major plus and say come in fourth in an eight team tournament?

It seems to me that you would want to compete on the highest possible level and even if you do not win you can at least know where your teams abilities are.

Now, before someone gets offended here I recognize that some of my own teammates and friends are perfectly content to have a stacked team and win a lower division or small tournament. I just want to understand the thinking.
April 27, 2008
Men's 65
4549 posts
For myself I like playing up. You can always learn something if you look for it. Using say a AAA team as an example, stacked or not, you want to win. So guys mind sets are, well lets get, in but play down as far as we can get away, with and take it. Nothing like mixing apples and oranges. No real challenge unless the other teams have a good day, and it happens. We all go to win, but anyone can be beaten on and given day, given the right circumstances. Usually my best games were against teams that are or were rated better. Give the game(s) your very best, with a good attitude, and personality, and that is pretty much all anyone can ask. If everyone did that and it still wasn't good enough, there will be another day.
If a person goes into a game with a defeatist attitude, it will be like one rotten apple spoiling the whole basket of apples.
Play up, get better, watch & learn from them. Winning doesn't come over night.
April 28, 2008
Men's 55
41 posts
I really don't understand why teams want to play down either. At my first Senior Tourney, I felt very fortunate to be part of a team that won a National Tournement (and a ring) in AAA ball. When we were told we would be moved up to Major the following year, I was excited. Not everyone else on my team saw it that way. One big complaint is that there weren't as many teams in Major ball. There is something to be said for winning a tournement in AAA with 15-20 teams vs winning a Major tournement with only 5 teams. Plus it gets a little old seeing the same 5 teams at every tourney. However, after our 2nd year as a Major team, we finally did win a qualifier and our team goal is now to win a National and be moved up to Major Plus. I would rather play, and learn from, the best players in my age group, and continue to improve my game. The answer is to find more Major/Major Plus teams to compete.
April 28, 2008
Men's 65
4549 posts
If you get 5 teams you lucky. Look at how often there are only 2-3 teams in a bracket. I have gone to a few, (another assn for 2 of them and this one for one) that had 1 team in one of the divisions. They played much better better teams. It can get ugly.
What I'm confused about (e-z to do) & would like a clarification on, is where the term "World" tournament comes from. Canada is the only country I have seen teams from, at any of SSUSA tournament. Let alone any other assn's tournament. Though their might be. I've seen softball teams from Japan, Canada and one other in St G at the Huntsman Games. It would be nice if a team or two came from one of these countries SSUSA visits on their worldly goodwill tours, although where, when & ranking sure might be a problem. I guess having a few teams from one other country qualifies for that.
But even with 15-20 teams "listed", your going to only get if lucky, to play 2-3 of them for "seating" and then MAYBE 2-3 other teams. and with that chances are at least 1-2 of those you would have faced before.
But I too like playing different teams. It just rarely happens. That is one reason I like trying to play with different teams, they usually do play other teams.
April 28, 2008
Men's 60
34 posts
I applaud you for withdrawing from the Spring Nationals. The number of teams is declining rapidly and will continue to do so unless some way is implemented to balance the competition. Just paying an entry fee does not make a good tournament.

As for as playing down, I agree that some teams have a "win at any cost" mentality, but most of us just want to play the best teams in our Division and Age bracket.

A case in point of playing down is this past weekend's Spring Nationals. A 55 team was allowed to play in the elimination round with the 60 AAA. What kind of feeling do they have if they win the bracket? Even if they lose or keep another legit 60 team from winning, how can this satisfy them?

Senior Moments 60 AAA
Shelby Simmons
April 28, 2008
155 posts
Audieh - great post, but wrong question.

Here's my 2 cents worth: Virtually no one wants to "play down," but just about all of us want to be rated "fairly." I've managed and been on AA, AAA, Major, Major+ teams and none of the players on these teams wanted to be in a division where they creamed the competition. BUT, player don't wants to go to a tournament and lose 100% of its games over and over again -- most will quit or find another team after a couple of years.

Another point: It is apprpriate for teams to be moved up for 1 to 2 years after winning the Worlds. Most divisions have 100+ teams (except Major+ and some Majors) and the teams that came in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. should have a chance to win the Worlds without playing the previous year's winner..

PS Good post, Shane
April 28, 2008
the wood
Men's 65
1123 posts
How is it that Audie 'asked the wrong question' in a post that he initiated? It seems to me that he has the privilege of asking what he wants.
So you feel that the best way for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th place teams to improve is to oust the 1st place team? Now that's a real sporting way to look at it. Shouldn't a team have to dominate a division before they're moved up? No one has called the Miami Heat a dynasty... at least no one north of Miami.

I personally believe that the answer to your question has already been answered... but not directly. Many teams don't really want competition as much as they want the assurance that they can win. Some teams thrive on competition and others wilt under pressure. It almost always comes down to attitude.
But thisn't a new concept... it has been going on out here since the late 70s (So Cal). We used to have to travel to your neck of the woods (or the mid-west) to find teams that REALLY wanted to play us... or to Nor Cal or AZ. In the southeast, the teams would come out of the woodwork for the just an 'off chance' to beat us... and occasionally they would. I'm not talking about the best teams from back there (Howard's, Ken Sanders, Rule Const, etc.), I mean D & M Racing, the Richmond Spiders... teams like that. I remember them because they did beat us.
Folks will flatly deny having this type of mind set (fear of competition) but it obviously exists. I heard a new one 10 days ago... what happens if we do beat you? Won't they move us up? We'd better not play you... oh, yeah, it definitely exists.
You posed an honest question that few can honestly answer.
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