Giant Killing – 2

While Giant Killing continues building a head of steam, it is the little things that will probably carry me through episodes. And that’s not a disparaging comment at all, because the little things are part of what make sports more fun and not so super serious. (Even though we sports fans treat it like Serious Business much of the time!)

The cheap press room brings back memories of covering sports when I was in college. My alma mater does not have a particularly large athletic department (10 teams now because the tennis teams are being contracted for the time being due to budget issues), and not a ton of local coverage (although that has changed slightly with the men’s basketball team playing in the Division II championship last year and winning it all this year), so the press room was kind of cold and lonely, haha. There isn’t such a great atmosphere in this room, either — the looks on the faces of the journalists in the background are hilarious. Half of them must be wondering, “What the HELL did we do to earn this shitty beat?”

How Tatsumi deals with the press is amusing as well. In my experience — not just interviewing coaches but in watching way too much sports — there are three types of coaches who deal with the news media: 1) The coach who answers in nothing but cliches because there is no way in hell he is going to reveal his strategies to the media (or possibly because he wants to coast through the interview and get home); 2) The coach who dicks around with the media because he thinks their questions are inane (much as I dislike the San Antonio Spurs, Gregg Popovich is hilarious when he is in, “Fuck the media” mode), because he can use them as a psychological ploy (the Lakers’ Phil Jackson) or because he’s just bored; and 3) The coach who is gregarious with the media because he understands the importance of having the press in his pocket, or, more rarely, because the coach actually is a pretty cool, honest, upstanding guy with everyone he talks to.

Tatsumi seems like a mix between the Popovich and Jackson type of coach — probably tired of the media long ago, but he can still use them to rile up his team and march to the beat of his drum. It’s a dangerous act to play since bruised egos are quite fragile, but Tatsumi seems to have a dominant enough personality to pull off this strategy, even though he is dealing with a guy in Murakoshi who hates his guts.

The game in this episode is OK — nothing too fancy, just Tatsumi using basic strategy to prove a point. And that point is the ETU starters are out-of-shape and incapable of deciphering the strategy of their opposition, aside from Murakoshi, who is just Athlete Old. But, yeah, as humiliating as it is to lose to a bunch of rookies and young’uns, this team has to know there is a valid reason why they suck so much.

It’s a win-win strategy for Tatsumi, at least for now. He gives the young bucks a boost of confidence, and he lights a fire under the players who were humiliated and desperately want to improve themselves. If there is a competitive streak in any of them, they’re going to bust their asses to make sure they aren’t shown up like that ever again. And even though everything Tatsumi does seems to piss off Murakoshi, at least Tatsumi gives him a show of solidarity by offering to take the pressure off him. Being the face of a franchise — even if it’s a shitty franchise — is a lot to ask for one guy.

Now they’re just in the preparation stage for the actual season. Should be fun to see what kind of crap Tatsumi makes the team do while he’s off warming up.

One last thing: I like Tatsumi sitting around all cross-legged in his “quirky genius pose” while coaching the game. :p


8 Responses to “Giant Killing – 2”

  1. I personally think Tatsumi does want Murakoshi on his team. Murakoshi is just a shitty leader. He’s probably a good player though.

    The team seems like it has just stagnated since Murakoshi took over. As a strategist doing the same old thing seems to be his style. Tatsumi is going to mix it up and I imagine he’ll want the strength of both types of players.

    • Well, yeah, Tatsumi definitely wants Murakoshi on his team — even at an advanced stage in his career, he still has enough talent and experience to help out. Plus, if he ever gets an attitude check, he can be an invaluable source of information for the young’uns.

  2. Seeing that game, it isn’t difficult to understand why Murakoshi’s ETU wasn’t able to come out on top. I’m not just talking about the stamina. They had a smug attitude. They felt they had the experience, and would play their best, but what did they actually try to DO to win? They didn’t seem to have any plan, until Murakoshi finally caught on, and told them to not chase the other team around the field. Up to that point they were just expecting to win by default — not executing a strategy.

    • Yeah, the smug attitude is why it probably took so long for the team to recognize Tatsumi’s strategy — they went in thinking they would wallop the n00bs, but they allowed themselves to go with the flow of the rookies, which was their downfall. Gotta control your own pace.

  3. I agree with you that the “small things” of this series so far have made Giant Killing enjoyable. Personally, I find the OP and [to some extent] the ED theme enjoyable, as well as the focus on the game. I actually was impartial towards the press conference; I’ve never really watched one (aside from snippets of them from ESPN highlights), and I’d rather focus on the actual match itself. Perhaps the only annoying part of the series so far is the “OMG, Tatsumi is a genius!” feeling that exudes from the series itself. As for the interaction between Tatsumi and Murakoshi, I thought it was realistic and very revealing.

    I look forward to seeing your future posts on this series!

    • Haha, well, I wouldn’t expect too many people to be enthralled by the press conference — just a normal conference, after all. It just brings back some amusing memories for me.

  4. Murakoshi’s strategy is pretty reminiscent of Team China’s strategy during the last World Cup… the whole ‘wall defense’ thing where everyone plays super boring and tries to make an impenetrable defense and score some cheap goals. It seemed to work in the qualifiers but they got their ass kicked in the actual World Cup using that strategy.

    The best defense is a strong offense, and thus Murakoshi needs to be removed.

    • Reminds me of when the New York Knicks and Miami Heat almost ruined the NBA by playing thugball, slowdown basketball. Yuck. Every Knicks/Heat playoff series was a nightmare.

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