Prior to Sunday night's NFL game between the Pittsburgh Steelers
and the Indianapolis Colts, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin referenced
an old adage: "Losing hurts worse than winning feels good."
Nine-time World Champion Ty Murray said he used to say the same thing throughout his professional bull riding career. It's why he always accepted a re-ride option any time he was given one.
It's also why Murray, who was in the broadcast booth this weekend on Versus and CBS, was critical of Silvano Alves' decision to keep a 73.5-point score in the opening round of last weekend's Built Ford Tough Series event, despite receiving a re-ride option.
"I think he sees it as, 'All I want to do every time the gate opens, I want to get a score,'" explained Murray. He also surmised that Alves isn't interested in what the score is; he simply wants to put points on the board.
"I'm not saying I'm right and he's wrong," Murray continued. "I didn't grow up in that school of thought and I never used that school of thought in my career. I just feel like it's called competition for a reason, and it always feels to me like you have to try to advance your position if given the opportunity."
Alves, who is 1,778.25 points ahead of Valdiron de Oliveira in the world standings, finished the event fifth in the average - just one spot behind Oliveira.
Oliveira gained only 80.75 points on Alves.
Murray noted that Alves is capable of covering any bull he is matched up against, and finds it hard to think he wouldn't have had the confidence to make the 8-second whistle on re-ride bull Habanero.
If Oliveira is able to chip away at the lead, and Alves is left with no choice but to change his approach in Las Vegas, Murray wonders how it might affect his confidence.
"I feel like there's an intangible effect, too, of just the role it plays in your frame of mind, in your confidence level," he explained.
"If it gets down to the nitty-gritty at the Finals, and it does become a dogfight, and you're in that position where you can't turn a re-ride down, where's your frame of mind?"
Still, Murray likes Alves' ability to stay in the moment without letting the pressure or outside distractions get in the way - the primary reason he's less than 1 point from being the only rider in the Top 40 to have an average of 70 percent.
In fact, Murray compared Alves' focus to Jim Sharp's, who won two PRCA world titles and last year was inducted into the PBR Ring of Honor.
The lingering difference is that like Murray, Sharp would have taken the re-ride option this weekend.
"Here's what it comes down to for me," Murray said. "I can accept not winning the event or even the World Championship, if I knew I tried as hard as I could and did everything in my power to squeeze every drop out of everything.
"I can live with that … but if you go the entire season and you feel like you left one thing on the table or a lot of things, that would be hard to live with that."
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