Why do we support the weaker one?

Watching Australian Open last month was fun, to say the least. We saw a lot of upsets. Federer challenged by Tipsarevic in round 3, the defending champion Serena Williams thrown out in quarter finals, the World No.1 Federer and No. 2 Nadal failing to reach the finals - this was one nail biting tournament.

I watched the semi-finals between Djokovic and Federer and then the finals between Djokovic and Tsonga. Amazing matches, both of them. In the semi-finals, the crowd was cheering for Djokovic. There were many Federer fans present, no doubt, but Djokovic fans were more vocal in their support.

Cut to the finals match and the exact opposite happened. People were cheering for Tsonga. Djokovic fans were unusually quiet. Djokovic showed his disappointment about this in his acceptance speech.

The match was not about Serbia vs. Switzerland or Serbia vs. France. This was about strong vs. week. The crowd was not cheering for the country the player represented but the quality he represented. In both the matches, the crowd wanted the weaker player to win.

Why are we humans like this? Why do we want the weaker player to win? Is it because we want to boost his confidence or empower him? Even if either person wins, the crowd doesn’t really gain anything. What do we gain by supporting the weaker player? To feel good that we didn’t support the obvious winner but supported the less obvious one and hence did a good deed? Or is it just because we want to see an upset and hence a hot news to talk about? What is the intention behind this loyalty shift?

Why only the crowd, even I wished the same. My loyalty towards Djokovic suddenly shifted in the finals and I was hoping Tsonga wins. If I ask myself why, I am not happy with the answer I get. I want the weaker player to win because this will create a new sensation and breaking news and I have something to talk about. I want to discuss/gossip about how the champion was defeated and that gives me some wild pleasure. Strange!

What’s your reason? Why do you support the weaker player?


Anu said...

In my view, it's not about doing a good deed or having a sensational new topic to talk about. It's about supporting the underdog, it's the thrill in watching an upset win. I guess it gives us that heady rush of adrenaline - something like what you feel when good wins over evil, whenever we see the supposed weaker candidate fighting through all odds and winning against a smug, who-everyone-thinks-will-surely-win kinda competitor. We love to see the point being proven - "every dog has it's day"! :)

Anamika said...

You have a point, Anu. I never thought of it that way.