Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Against all odds

The Blob knows its audience, which is why it rarely strays into what for Americans constitutes the wilderness on this planet of games. But sometimes attention must paid.

And so, this morning, all hail Leicester City.

If you've never heard of Leicester City, it's because you regard soccer as some alien incursion that must nipped in the bud forthwith. But right now it's as big a story in England as the NFL Draft and the NBA playoffs are in the States, because Leicester City just pulled off the greatest upset in the history of sports as we know them.

Yes, bigger than the Miracle On Ice, because that was just one game. Yes, bigger than Villanova over Georgetown, or North Carolina State over Houston, or Buster Douglas over Mike Tyson.

That's because Leicester City just clinched the championship of  the Barclay's Premier League, English soccer's version of the NFL. It did this despite being a 5,000-to-1 shot to win the title. It did this a year removed from nearly being relegated (i.e., sent down to the minors), and with a lineup that averaged an ancient 28 years in age and comprised mostly benchwarmers from more celebrated clubs.

In short, Leicester City winning the Premier League is like Chico's Bail Bonds winning the World Series. Or, closer to home, like the Komets winning the Stanley Cup.

Actually, it's more astounding than that, because Leicester did it across an entire season. Almost incomprehensively, it occupied first place for all but one week from November on. And if it benefited from traditional heavyweights such as Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United having down years, it also did it by consistently beating head-to-head its main rivals for the title -- in this case Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, among others.

Not bad for a 5,000-to-1 'dog. Which, if you're looking for comparisons, made Leicester City light years more a longshot to win the Premier League than Mitt Romney is to be elected president this year.

According to some books, Romney's odds are a mere 200-to-1.

And he's not even in the race.

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