Coaches flipping out to fire their teams up: a time-honored tradition in sports. What, you thought Lou Piniella and Earl Weaver were actually always that mad at the umps? A lot of them are legitimately short-tempered, sure, but they’re also calculating, and sometimes, a nice tirade is just what a lethargic team needs to find new life.
That’s the way the thinking behind the tantrums goes, anyway. Does it actually work? Well, we don’t have any special insight on whether it’s effective in general, but we can say pretty confidently that in one specific case last night, a coach going bonkers worked wonders. That coach: Cheryl Reeve of the Minnesota Lynx. The setting: the third quarter of Game 2 of the WNBA Finals against the Indiana Fever, with the game tied at 48. Reeve saw a call she didn’t like – really didn’t like. Here’s how she reacted:
And what happened after? Well, the Lynx outscored the Fever 35-23 the rest of the way for an 83-71 win to tie the series at a game apiece. The strong finish happening after Reeve’s tirade might be a happy coincidence – might. Us? We doubt it. We think this was a savvy move on Reeve’s part. Was she angry? We imagine she was, yeah. Was she truly so angry that she just had to be restrained by both one of her assistants and one of her players, or did she do the tiniest bit of good acting to will her team to a spirited finish? That’s up for debate. What’s not up for debate: her team won. Well done, Cheryl… but watch that shoulder.