Thursday, February 20, 2014

Revisionist History?

This post brought to you jointly by Pearl de Vere and The Stockyard Queen, in the brief moments available in our current crazy schedules.  Watch out, folks, free-form long-program ranting, perhaps soon to be an Olympic sport!

With J.B. Mauney out (and a whole press release dedicated to it--you'd think after all the time they invested in making him their star, they'd be worried about announcing he'd not be someplace), we had a moment of desperate hope that we could have a break from the PBR's sort of gross need to pick away at Silvano Alves. But no, scroll down to this: "ALVES REMAINING OPTIMISTIC IN SLUMP (2-12-2014)."  In it, we see such proclamations as:
...his pedestrian-like average continues a three-year trend in which he’s gone from 69 percent in 2011 to 60 percent in 2012 followed by 55 percent last year, when he lost out on winning his third consecutive world title on the final day of the season.
What contributes to his declining average, I surely don't know (but certainly expect that hassling in the chutes isn't helping), but I do know that a 55% average is higher than Joao Ricardo Vieira's right now, and he's #2 in the world.  Probably having his every decision analyzed in a poor light and constantly being asked questions that boil down to why he sucks this year isn't too encouraging, either, in addition to articles that question the entirety of a strategy that succeeded two times and nearly a third.

The PBR has apparently forgotten how scattershot the first part of the season is, where someone unlikely will be #1, and someone else will jump up or fall down 10 or more spots based on his performance over one weekend.  Silvano Alves has always played the long game, attempting to steadily accrue the most points by the end of the season--being in the 18th position at the start of the season is somewhat surprising, but the way the PBR has been treating it, you'd think he was 105th, running out of time, and could never possibly recover.  And this is not to mention that the PBR implies in their television commentary that if only Mauney were at the event, he would be dominating, rather than talking about people in front of them who are actually riding.  People such as Silvano Alves.

Particularly distasteful is Ty Murray's ongoing shaming of Alves, implying that Alves is just not trying hard enough and has an attitude problem (calling him "lazy," even). Ty would do well to remember that Alves is the FIRST back-to-back PBR world champion. I don't recall Ty banging on Kody Lostroh the season after he won, or chewing on Justin McBride's ass when he slumped after winning his first gold buckle in 2005. As a matter of fact, what mostly happened was the commentators became apologists for the champ, opining that the PBR had a "long season" and that champions inevitably experienced a let-down, or took time off to actually get nagging injuries dealt with, after finally achieving the pinnacle of the sport the previous season.  Of course, in our case, the previous season was only over six or seven weeks prior, which is hardly enough time for the guys to get their holiday ya-yas out and settle down to business as usual again.   And then there's the small fact that the new point system encourages cowboys to hit the TPDs, meaning they rarely get a break of any kind, even if those of us not paying CBS a gajillion dollars for the LEC aren't seeing it.

But, let's forget about all that, because the champion returns "in true Mauney fashion" this weekend! Thanks, PBR, for putting my mind at ease.  I'm now hoping we can get press releases for each and every event about whether the most important cowboy in the PBR will be attending, so I'll know whether to watch, and if I'm supposed to feel that all his decisions are mature, rather than sad and misguided like Silvano Alves' apparently are, even when sometimes they are essentially the same decision.

Seriously, PBR, don't frame it like this, and we'll all feel a lot better, Alves and Mauney included, I'd guess.  J.B. Mauney is J.B. Mauney, and he proved himself among the greats last year.  Silvano Alves is our first back-to-back champ and he's more than proved himself. The PBR doesn't have to focus on trying to tear down the history Silvano Alves made in order to make Mauney look better--their seasons will develop as they may, no matter what the commentators say or the PBR writes. While the PBR's ridiculous posturing about both riders may sway some, the history is and will be there to be seen, and in the end, all this crass nitpicking at Alves really does is make the PBR look completely petty and classless, and all this hyper-focus on Mauney does is create a standard no mere mortal can attain, let alone maintain.  Nobody wins, if only the PBR would see it.