Worlds: Why NA Teams Are The Victims of Their Own Mediocrity

It could be said that we as fans watch Worlds to witness greatness, however the reality is that we also love to see greatness give way to failure.

Our emotions are never ignited more than when we see David beat Goliath. Or when we see the underestimated teams of a foreign league that no one gave a chance to, armed with nothing more than passion and pride, slay the giant.

It is because of this that the lesser teams hold a privileged position. They have nothing to lose. They are either the humblers of kings, or they are the punching bags that the world expected them to be.

Champions, however, have a much harder time.They are nothing if they are not winners, or at the very least challengers for that title.

It is said that no one remembers who came second, and though this may hold true for some sports, in team sports everyone remembers who a champion had to beat on that final day to sit atop the podium. Otherwise, how could they be held up as true champions if not by referencing the fellow heavy weights of whom they had to slay to get there.

The real truth of sport, and especially tournament sport, is that no one remembers the pack.

No one remembers who it was the champions had to overcome in the quarter finals to progress to victory. Even less so do they remember those teams that failed to progress from the group stages, lest they were an underdog who caused some great upset.

These distinctly average teams exist within the tournament only to extend the event over a greater number of days – so that we the fans can see more of the true challengers for supremacy display their prowess, and also have a greater chance of seeing an underrated outsider ignite our spirit and deliver a true spectacle of sporting magic.

What is most ironic is that in League of Legends, the middle of the pack is quite firmly, North America. A region that prides itself on its hatred of ties. A region that believes in all matters of competition there must be a winner and a loser. Yet however sorry it is to say, in this case North America, over the long life of The League of Legends World Championships, the loser undoubtedly is you.

Having never won the World Championship itself, only reaching the heights of the top four once, six years ago –  and never again reaching a quarter-final since – outside of the Wildcard region, North America are by any objective analyst’s assessment, the worst preforming region in League of Legends World Championship history.

They are the Never Good Enoughs – teams of distinctly average players hailing from a sub-par region that can never seem to handle playing with the big boys.

Yet every year they seem to arrive with the same brash attitude of champions; of players that will finally this year bring home the trophy, and with it some dignity to their region.

They won’t.

So why do they believe so? Because of the fanaticism of their fans.

In the general populous and in the media, in advertising and infrastructure, in every corridor of the institutions of our sport, North American fans hold the belief so greatly that a team from their region should be champions, or simply wish to perpetuate that belief in order to sell merchandise, that it warps their reality and they fail to see the mediocrity before them.

And so they cheer, and they sing, they post on message boards and on Twitter of how this is their year. Without exception, the players begin to believe in their own hype, and soon any criticism of these teams so easily worshiped by their legions of fans is ignored for a false reality of North American fantasy.

This is the cult of North America. The most vocal and uniformed fans in the world, blinded by regional patriotism, telling their teams and the rest of the world, that they are the greatest. When in reality they will never achieve anything above the same average performances, and early group stage exits, that see them branded as failures every year.

Shame on you, NA fans. To be part of a culture that puts your teams on so high a pedestal that they can never hope to truly live up to. To make heroes of men destined only to fail.

One must see that they lack the ability to challenge for greatness, and as such can do nothing but fulfill that role that has now become uniquely theirs: to be the fodder upon which the underdogs can feast on, or were they to fend off their lessers, to be the skulls on which the champions will sharpen their blades upon their own roads to victory.

One may think it unkind to say these things of players that sacrifice so much for our enjoyment, that put every part of themselves into a sport simply for our entertainment as fans, but one might ask: is it not more unkind to continue to feed their delusions of grandeur, to perpetuate this cult of North America, to watch as these poor players have their dreams of victory crushed without ever leaving the group stages?

North America is being taken advantage of and that is the real tragedy.

Their teams are simply in attendance to make up the numbers, and they are being placed in a predicament by their fans where in which they can do nothing but disappoint.

They will never challenge the champions. They have neither the knowledge nor the aptitude. This is merely a fact of past performances. Yet we have all fallen for the now excepted delusion that they are more than underdogs, and as such they are now trapped. Victims of mediocrity, they are stuck within an environment in which they cannot succeed, and are instead forced to slowly be torn apart game by game.

In sports, mediocrity is the worst possible state for a team to be. It is a curse, a torment in which there are no victories, only defeats.

With victories against their betters unobtainable, and those against their lessers seen as predictable, North America can never truly satisfy the delusions of which their fans have imposed upon their region. And with their inevitable defeats ranging from unacceptable against the highest of opponents to humiliating towards the lower, the teams of North America deserve all of our sympathy.

Fortunately, for the rest of the regions outside of North America this does not affect us. In this tournament, as in every other in which they have competed, their teams will be worth nothing more than the time it takes us to forget their names, as one of the real champion teams of the world is crowned.