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How to Win

Olympics: Was losing games all that wrong?

Let me ask this question in all seriousness: Was it so wrong for four Olympic badminton teams to throw games?

To me, the actions of the South Korea, China and Indonesia teams were nothing but a tactic.
If their object was to win the gold medal, shouldn’t they be able to maneuver to do i?

Look at basketball, where cheating — committing a foul — is routinely used as a tactic at the end of games. In football, a team will sometimes take a penalty to improve field position for a punt.

The suspensions remind me of Tony LaRussa, who was managing the Chicago White Sox in the strike-interrupted 1981 season.

I’m hazy on the details, but under rules set up when the season resumed, the White Sox had a chance to make the playoffs. There was even a scenario (again, I’m hazy on the details), where it would have been an advantage to lose games.

I recall LaRussa, a trained lawyer, saying that he would lose a game if it were necessary. He reasoned that the pre-season goal was to make the playoffs, and anything that helped his team do that was a legitimate tactic.

As things turned out, the White Sox did not make the playoffs, avoiding a potentially controversial aspect to a season that was already awash in strife.

What’s your opinion? Is deliberately losing ever a legitimate tactic?

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