Depending on what sport you like to watch, chances are that one of your favourite teams is coming in to the squeaky-bum-time of their season, as Alex Ferguson might say once and be constantly quoted about. If you are a fan of both football and rugby, as any self-loathing idiot should be, then this week represents both excitement and despair for you.
The quarter-finals of any tournament are the best part of any tournament, if you ask The Badger, which you always should. The quarter-finals are when things really start getting down to business, with every team capable of beating everyone else. Also, more teams means that it’s more likely that your team is still in the competition.
In fact, The Badger firmly believes that if you are a fan of a tournament in which the quarter-finals are not competitive, then you should stop watching that tournament because it is boring and predictable, like the All-Ireland. Even the Carling Cup is more exciting than the first few months of either All-Ireland.
Even though, logically, the semi-finals and the final should contain even better quality than the quarter-finals, it doesn’t always work out that way. When there are only eight teams left in a competition, you get high quality teams facing off against each other without the crippling fear of a loss meaning falling at the last hurdle. Athletes hate falling at the last hurdle, just ask Gail Devers.
The Badger knows, well, everything, but that includes the fact that sometimes the quarter-finals aren’t quite as good as the semi-finals or even the final. When that is the case, The Badger couldn’t care less, because it means that the tournament is getting progressively better, and that is something that only the dullest buzzkill would complain about.
So while the American football fans still have to wait another five months before their tiny season starts up again, only having a glorified version of picking teams at the start of P.E. to keep them occupied, rugby fans can bask in the glory of the Heineken Cup quarter-finals, the ones that the two-time defending champions weren’t able to qualify for.
But earlier than the Heineken Cup is the Champions League, where again the defending champions couldn’t make it through to the knockout stages, as we get to see Messi got face-to-crotch with Ibrahimovic and Ronaldo take on the flares that the Turkish fans with inevitably throw at him.
So tell all your friends, maybe quarter-finals week will even become a tradition bigger than the final itself. In terms of consistent quality and entertainment, this week is one of the best-kept secrets in sport. But don’t expect it to stay that way, now that The Badger’s out of the bag.