feel-good loss-001

feel-good loss (fel good lahs) phrase. A loss that provides some measure of hope and optimism for the future, such as a narrow defeat to a vastly superior team.

Usage example: The Bulls may have lost to the Mavericks in Dallas, but it took 44 points from Dirk Nowitzki and an improbable three-pointer by Jason Kidd to do it. So you can chalk that one up as a feel-good loss.

Word history: The term was used recently by Al Harrington after his Knicks were beaten in New York by Lebron James' historic not-quite-a-triple-double. Said Al: "This is one of the games where you can say it's a feel-good loss. The two times we played them before, they blew us out of the building in the first half. But I think we're showing our growth. We played well." (Wow. Can I get a "Yay, team!"?)

However, even though Harrington's quote (via Chris) brought the phrase to my attention, it's not a new one. A quick Google search uncovered several instances of the term "feel-good loss" (for example: here, here and here).

Word usuage: I would say that, typically speaking, a true feel-good loss should be indicative of a team's general upward trend. In that spirit, I'm not sure the Knicks' narrow loss to the Cavaliers is representative, since it was followed up by feel-bad losses to the Celtics and Trail Blazers. And in the latter defeat, New York had to rally from a 17-point third-quarter deficit and then blew a 13-point lead in the last eight minutes (which included getting outscored 8-0 in the final 1:54) before losing 109-108 on a buzzer-beating finger roll by Brandon Roy. But there's more. As Dr. Henry Pym pointed out in an email: "The Knicks HAD A FOUL TO GIVE when they let Brandon Roy hit that buzzer beating layup. Seriously, how stupid can Mike D'Antoni BE?!" Yeah. I'm guessing Al isn't feeling so good right now.

Synonyms: Losses That Aren't As Bad As Others, moral victory.

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Blogger Wild Yams said...
Related to what Al Harrington said, Jeff Van Gundy yesterday was talking about how David Lee said that this past week was the best 0-3 week of his career. So I guess the only thing better than a feel-good loss is three of them in a row?

Blogger Unknown said...
Which begs the question; Is there a "feel bad" win? I vote yes in this case, stating such classic examples as:
-Anytime you achieve a victory in the "ugliest person in the office" contest.
-Heisman anyone?
-Winning the 2001 NBA Lottery.
-Getting picked first in the 2001 NBA Draft, then getting to get called a faggot by Michael Jordan.

Blogger chris said...
flohtingPoint: I know George Karl got pretty pissed off at his Nuggets after they struggled to beat the Spurs B-team pretty recently...

Blogger Wild Yams said...
flohtingPoint, there are also Pyrrhic victories, in which the win is not worth the cost. For instance, when the Lakers beat Memphis last week, it wasn't worth the cost for losing Bynum. Mr. Bawful has also contended that with the 86 Celtics and maybe this year's Celtics that any victories over them are Pyrrhic in nature because teams invariably lost/lose the next game played.

Blogger Unknown said...
@Wild Yams: Oh yes, I can directly relate to that. Final game of the 03 NFL season, my Cardinals beat the Vikings, which knocked them out of having the first pick in the draft that year. I thought we lost all shot at getting Larry Fitzgerald.