The French Open is in full swing, the NBA Finals rematch is coming and the Red Viper’s head became a bloody watermelon. What lessons in life and in sports did we learn from these momentous events?
First, is that underdogs do have a chance even against the great ones.
Former world number one Roger Federer lost to unheralded Ernests Gulbis in the fourth round of the men’s singles and current world number one Serena Williams got waylaid by an unknown in Garbine Muguruza in the second round of the women’s singles competition in the Grand Slam in Paris.
Second, while the ‘dogs can bark loudly and pull off the upset they shouldn’t yap too loudly until the fat lady sings!
Remember the wild Ray Allen shot from last year that forced overtime in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals that saved the Miami Heat’s season? The Spurs were one rebound away from clinching the title but alas it wasn’t to be as the Heat grabbed the offensive rebound, found Allen at the corner and the veteran shooter obligingly hit from behind the arc, the Heat forced OT and Game 7. The rest is history.
Unfortunately, Oberyn Martell a.k.a the Red Viper apparently did not get to watch both the French Open and the NBA Finals.
Much like Gulbis and Muguruza, both of whom played inspired in their mission to move mountains, the Red Viper had a virtuoso performance against The Mountain in the Trail by Combat for Tyrion Lannister. But unlike the underdogs in France, Oberyn did not finish the job costing his life and that of the little Lannister.
Much like the Spurs-Heat match-up in 2013, the Red Viper had the Mountain on the ropes… Only for Gregor Clegane to rebound late and eventually send Oberyn to oblivion.
To be fair with the classy Spurs, they did not celebrate too early like the Red Viper in that game… Still there are lots of other examples in sports that reflect the stupidity of Oberyn and the dangers of premature celebration.
To put it all in context, below is the Red Viper vs. The Mountain video for the nth time. After that we will post some of the worst and most humiliating premature celebrations in sports history—just to compare how Oberyn fared against the showboats. (Video credits to respective YouTube accounts used):
Here is Oberyn as the Red Viper in the Game of Thrones (GOT):
What the F--- Happened: Just watch the video again.
Showboat Stupidity Rating: 10 Oberyns
Oberyn as Biker Riccardo Russo in the 2012 Italian CIV Championship Race:
What the F--- Happened (via IOL Motoring): “Russo immediately assumed the race was finished, let go of the throttle and pumped the air in victory, before standing up on the footpegs to celebrate his win with all the self-congratulatory enthusiasm of Bafana Bafana cheering a goalless draw. The rest of the field came howling past on their last lap (watch it on the video, it's a humdinger!) leaving a very confused Russo to pick up the pieces of his pride and toddle off to the pits for the inevitable talking-to from the team principal.”
Showboat Stupidity Rating: 4 Oberyns – The noise in the race track probably just confused Russo but being one of the top 600cc riders during that season, he should have known better. Then again, the Red Viper should have known better too; The Mountain is a big bad man and maybe, just maybe, he can demand for a confession like 2 (or 3, just to be really, really safe) meters away. Russo’s problem was that he couldn’t count the number of laps while Oberyn’s problem was he was counting the chickens before they hatched. By the way, Russo finished 14th in this race, much to the chagrin of Tyrion.
Oberyn as Leon Lett in the National Football League (NFL):
What the F--- Happened (via New York Times): “(Leon Lett) slowed a bit as he got inside the Buffalo 10, then held the football out to the side in his right hand. This provided just enough time for Don Beebe, the Bills' fleet wide receiver, to catch up to Lett and swipe at the ball, knocking it from Lett's hand at the 1-yard line. The ball rolled through the end zone for a touchback, and Buffalo took over at the 20.”
Showboat Stupidity Rating: 6 Oberyns - It was bad because it happened in the biggest stage in American Football— the Super Bowl. However, his team, the Dallas Cowboys had a commanding 52-to-17 lead during Lett’s blunder—and went on to win the NFL championship. In other words, Tyrion is found not guilty if he picked the Cowboys for the Trial by Super Bowl.
Oberyn as Cibona Zagreb in Euroleague Basketball:
What the F--- Happened (via Huffington Post): “One unwritten and very well-known rule in sports is to not celebrate a victory until the game is actually over. Croatian basketball team Cibona Zagreb didn't follow that principle in the NLB Championship game against Serbian team KK Partizan. After a pair of missed free throws from Partizan, Cibona raced up the court and nailed a three-pointer from the baseline to take a one-point lead. Although there were still 0.6 seconds left, Cibona celebrated on the court. But the game was not over, as the celebrators would soon learn. Dusan Kecman of Partizan heaved a 75-footer with time expiring and banked it in for the improbable victory.”
Showboat Stupidity Rating: 9 Oberyns – It was for all the marbles in the 2009–10 season of the ABA NLB League. So like the Red Viper, a lot was at stake. Credit to their head coach however who tried to tell his players the game was not over. In other words, Tyrion was the head coach of Cibona in this one.
Oberyn as Goalie Loris Angeli in Some Lower Level Italian Soccer League:
What the F--- Happened: The karmaic backspin.
Showboat Stupidity Rating: 10 Oberyns – There are just too many analogies between the Red Viper-Mountain fight and this embarrassing soccer sequence. The moment the kicker hits the crossbar is when Oberyn stabbed Gregor for what seemingly netted the victory for both. The kicker even fell to the ground a la The Mountain! The goalie runs to his teammates— like Oberyn running around with his victory lap and speech.
Like Season 4, Episode 8 director Alex Graves’ camera angles—when the background (A smirking Cersei Lannister smirks and shocked Tyrion) tells a story simultaneously with the foreground (The Mountain beating the hell out of Pedro Pascal’s face or what remained of it), the soccer clip showed the goalie running to his teammates (foreground) without knowing that the backspin was bringing the ball back towards the goal (background).
There is a Red Viper in the Westeros as there are Oberyns in sports. Game of Thrones fans can blame George R.R. Martin for pulling the rug underneath them once again but sports fans can empathize with the fact that once the old (sports) gods and the new decide to mess with your team/favourite player, you have no choice but to just wait for the next game/match/race. Or in the case of Tyrion, for the next episode or two.