Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

THE BIG PICTURE: Postgame Critics Take the Easy Way Out

Perhaps later than most people under the age of 50, I’ve finally discovered the wonderful world of podcasts. My program of choice: “The Tony Kornheiser Show,” featuring the familiar voice from ESPN’s “Pardon The Interruption.”

The experience of listening to a sports/news show that was recorded days earlier is a strange one. Knowing the outcome of games and stories that Kornheiser and his guests make predictions about can easily turn you into a cynic or skeptic of the wisdom of these prognosticators.

Take Ron Jaworski, the esteemed ESPN football analyst who appears on Kornheiser’s show every Friday to predict the weekend’s big games. This past Friday, he chose the Ravens, Falcons, Bears, and Jets to win against the spreads. His picks finished 2-2.

Listening to Jaworski’s thoughts after the games have been played lends itself to second-guessing. In hindsight, his prediction that the Falcons would keep their game with the Packers close because they would be committed to running the ball seems laughable. It also leads the listener to ask: Why am I listening to this person if he is wrong so often? Who gave him the platform to make these embarrassingly bad predictions?

May I suggest, however, that while judging every single decision of others after the fact is easy and makes us seem superior, it is not something of which we should be proud. In fact, it’s usually wrong.

Taking this position of indignation against those who offer predictions and analysis that ultimately prove incorrect is not uncommon. Phil Mushnick of the New York Post has made a career of criticizing the predictions of sportscasters — particularly those of radio host Mike Francesa — after the fact. Beyond sports, Paul Krugman of The New York Times has given himself license to personally attack the economic and political views of anyone not named Paul Krugman.

It is easy to be a cynic. The role implies that you knew better the whole time but that you did not feel the need to grace others with your opinion before something happened.

Reflection and analysis after important games or decisions in our lives are important. They allow us to understand what has happened and how we can grow from those experiences. But second-guessing for the sake of appearing right is not constructive. If anything, it makes those who are willing to put their necks on the line by making a prediction or decision less likely to act for fear of being criticized.

Is this the type of world we want to live in, where each decision and action is nitpicked to the nth degree?

Unfortunately, we are all guilty of having these thoughts, criticizing the actions and decisions of others when we probably have no business doing so. As a campus, we do it after every loss by the men’s basketball team. Why did John Thompson III play a certain defense? Why did Chris Wright take that circus shot? Why can’t the Hoyas rebound?

Obviously, bad outcomes are conducive to second-guessing. But as all of us will realize, despite what we may do, not all of the outcomes in our lives are completely based on our actions. Sometimes, the other team makes every shot. Sometimes, a referee’s call doesn’t go our way.

Of course, we can — and will — be wrong. That’s where friends and family come into play to steer us in the right direction. Few things are more grating in life than to hear someone offer a criticism of our actions after the fact when they had every opportunity to correct us beforehand. In those moments, it almost seems as if the corrector is more concerned with being right than looking out for our best interests.

It is especially prevalent this time of year, as we choose our classes, our majors, and the paths we will pursue beyond our years on the Hilltop. We should not be afraid of the disapproval of others after the fact. We should be comfortable living with our thoughts and actions when we know they correspond to what we believe to be right.

So what’s my prediction? Jets 20, Steelers 17.

And I’ll even let you hold me to it.

Nick Macri is a senior in the College. The Big Picture appears in every other Friday edition of Hoya Sports.

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