Futsal Finals - Where you at?

Finals are the culmination of a team’s endeavours over a season. Some teams dominate a season, often not losing a game and then lose the semis. Other teams scrape into finals and win convincingly. Some players shine. Some make mistakes. The rare few need a collective hug. Some spectators are loud. Some are swiping on Tinder. Finals are more visceral. How do you process the experience?

I played a Men’s final recently, which is a rare event. Because it was something that doesn’t happen everyday, it was quite memorable. The things that I noticed were:

  • Time Expands and Contracts - When the game starts there is a huge amount of emotion swirling in the game space which includes excitement, anxiety, anticipation and euphoria. The positive emotions are exacerbated by adrenaline, and the stress elements are heightened by cortisol. This milieu exaggerates the effects of time.

  • Scoring frequency matters - Tight games with low scores are tense and feel like the longer a goal is not scored, the longer it won’t ever be scored. High scoring finals seem (with exception of vastly superior team) to match goal for goal, with successive lead changes.

  • Don’t get too far ahead on the scoreboard - Barca, Ajax…… It must be psychological effect that you innately want to preserve a lead and any change to that on the downside is seen as catastrophic. Studies have suggested that losses are twice as powerful, psychologically, as gains. Loss aversion was first identified by Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman. Loss aversion implies that one who loses $100 will lose more satisfaction than another person will gain satisfaction from a $100 windfall.

  • Is Loss aversion - a version of FOMO?

  • Weird things happen in finals - An opposition player before the game loudly and widely stated that he had just had a vasectomy so ‘don’t hit me in the balls.’ Our team noted the fact that we were playing vs a man that put his faith in a minor surgical procedure to no longer have children. During the game there was a collision that involved 3 players contesting a ball, which involved our goalkeeper and two opposition players, including Vasectomy man. Vasectomy man was irate, claiming the keeper had deliberately hit him in the aforementioned balls. The keeper explained the clash was accidental between the 3 because he only had his eyes on the ball…….

  • Take it easy on the refs - Finals are tough at the best of times with the added emotion, spectator feedback and teams seeking absolution. Be kind to the refs. We’ve reffed many a final. Incorrect calls (can occasionally) happen and we wear them heavily.

  • Fitness counts - Finals seem to be resolved towards the end of a game when fitness fades and consecutive goals are scored by the winners.

    Did we win? It doesn’t matter. Playing does.