Why Rousey and Manning will bounce back

Devin TuckerThis past weekend stood as the stage for the drastic fall from grace of two great competitors. I speak specifically of Peyton Manning and Ronda Rousey. The former has had a longer-standing career of success, but the latter has had a more invincible persona as of late.
Peyton Manning has seen the decline of his ability come with age, and while his counterpart Tom Brady continues to thrive, Peyton seems to be falling apart. He had the worst quarterback rating (QBR) of any player in the history of the National Football League (NFL). On that same day, he broke the record for most passing yards of all time. It seems like terribly dramatic irony that, on the same day, he made history for one of the best and worst accomplishments in the existence of football. Although an ailment in his foot may have contributed to this poor performance, the quickly changing public opinion of Manning creates a contradiction that allows us to see the dark sense of humor that sports produce inside each and every one of us. We desire to deify people in order to believe in ourselves, and we place individuals on pedestals so high that they reach above the clouds.
Ronda Rousey has been the target of lofty praise by both a self-prescription and by the opinion of the public at large. She faced Holly Holm this past weekend, a woman of incredible physical stature and finesse, whose focus as a fighter resides in boxing. Ronda Rousey has won almost all of her matches in the first round and a majority of those in the first minute. She applies a style of judo to her fighting technique, greatly preferring to grapple with her competitor and try to get them into a submission hold. The fight against Holly Holm was not typical of all her others. Holm crushed Ronda in the face several times early on and set something off in her. The conception of her as an “invincible” person made her believe she had to end the fight quickly and caused her to chase Holm with unorthodox strikes and off-balance attempts. After taking a beating in the first round, Rousey made no adjustments and stumbled from a missed punch before being absolutely destroyed. She received a hard shot to the face, and the moment she regained her composure Holly Holm delivered a devastating kick to Rousey’s neck and knocked her out.
I describe these situations to show how shallow our views of our “heroes” are. After all to err is human, and that will never change no matter how much we try to make someone out to be larger than life. So many fans have turned against both Rousey and Manning following their poor performances, harping on their failures because of the human capacity to prefer to say something negative over something positive. The crowd only loves you when you win, and the second a person makes a mistake there’s no hesitation in tearing down everything they’ve done. Ronda Rousey has essentially gone into hiding, and the unfair pressure that the media place on her must be a weight that weighs more heavily than any emotional baggage. While Rousey and Peyton must take some time to get over their losses, the only way to prove themselves is to come back and ball out harder than they ever have. If that’s not possible, then at least go down swinging. Although it seems like an interesting move to quote the Showtime show Spartacus in a time like this, I feel that the situation warrants it. “There’s only one way to be champion. Never lose.”

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