Unexpected results

It was the pre-Olympic cliffhanger to draw people back to The Biggest Loser. For two weeks, Cheryl and Darrell held a squat, balancing an Olympic-like torch above their head. OK, in reality, they held it for only about 10 minutes, but in the suspended animation of TV-land, it was two weeks.

As viewers returned, we saw Darrell lose his position, drop his torch and suffer immediate elimination from the game.

For all the hype it seemed, well, anti-climatic.

Ah, but the weigh-in wasn’t.

The new twist in the game this week had the contestants divide into blue and black teams. Michael earned control of the game for the week and selected the teams, stacking his blue team with the biggest, heaviest guys (and a few women) while putting the smaller women, along with Sam, on the black team.

The black team became the immediate underdog. They got to work. And, lo and behold, they won the weigh in, having a higher percentage of total weight loss as a team than the heavily favored blue team.

In sports terms, the cliche reads: This is why the games we play the games in person,not on paper.

Because there is always a human element. There is always a spirit, a drive, a hustle that can’t be counted in the stat sheet. One of the standard coach-speak phrases goes something like this: “We may not be the most talented team, but we’ll outwork everyone else.”

Sometimes as a sportswriter, you hear the words so often, the smile and nod just become automatic in response. Sometimes, on cynical days, you wonder if it’s even true.

But in reality, I’ve seen it time and time again. Some teams win on talent. Others will themselves to win. Others just continue to plug away at the process believing not only that they can win but will win. The best teams, the teams that set records and flirt with perfection, are the ones that are able to combine all three elements.

But never underestimate the intangibles.

Never underestimate the ability of spirit and heart and desire to create unexpected results.

When you dream big, trust the process and allow your best efforts to push you out of your comfort zone, you might just pull off the upset.

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