Schadenfreude In FPL

It’s GW24 of the 19/20 season. The community is brandishing Triple Captain chips left, right and center. Liverpool have a DGW and its widely agreed that this is the best time to use the chip. But on who – Salah or Mane?

Community consensus is that this is a pretty close 50/50 call if you own both – many do. What happened next is nothing short of comical.

Mane gets injured in the first match to give him a total score of 3 for those unfortunate to go with him on the Triple Captain. Salah is left to lead the line and ends up rocking up with 48 points for those that went with him instead.

The amount of smug feckers on Twitter went through the roof after that week.

Look at this dickhead.

Yeah yeah this isn’t an article of me preaching from on top of a pedestal or making out i’m ‘above it all’. Far from it, I love it when you guys fail. And I’d expect nothing less in return. The worse the community does as a collective, the better off I am in terms of rank. It’s not something I hope for, but its something I enjoy when it happens. What the Salah/Mane TC saga did was highlight a reality in the community that noone really acknowledges. We thrive on others failures more than our successes.

Lets be honest here. If Mane hadn’t got injured and had scored, say 33 points, those that captained Salah wouldn’t feel as good and we’d likely not still be talking about it. Its the truth. The only reason I can still talk about it and people remember is because those that were stung were stung hard and those that went with Salah still revel in that they weren’t subject to that pain.

Schadenfreude – pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune.

Indeed this mentality was highlighted in a study in Germany in 2015 whereby football fans were shown a series of penalties, both scored and missed for their national team, Germany, and for their rivals, the Dutch. The psychologists found that the when the Dutch missed a penalty the smiles were quicker and broader than that of their own team when they scored. It’s true we smile more with the failures of our rivals than at our own successes.

I believe this was exasperated because the expectation of a penalty is a goal. You never truly expect the player to miss, so when a rival misses its that much sweeter than when your team score because it’s a lower probability. This was evident with the Mane injury debacle. The expectation was that he’d return over two matches. Noone saw this coming.

Now i’m not saying we do this all the time, but it’s clear its very prevalent even in the simplest of ways.

There are FPL accounts dedicated to highlighting other peoples misfortunes. Try and find me one dedicated to accounts that are doing well. I’ll save you the trouble – there aren’t any. So why is that? Well the truth is we have no interest in seeing random people do better than us, but the knowledge that someone – anyone- has it worse is everything.

In fact the most interacted and widely spread tweets in the community tend to be any sort of “failure”.

This tweet has been doing the rounds. Over 20k likes & a feature on Sportbible. For comparison the Tweet from Joshua Bull (@JoshuaABull) in response to finding out he’d won FPL only received 8.3k likes – and he won the entire bloody thing! Congrats on winning Josh but its nothing on picking all injured players for GW1. Try harder next year.

There’s definitely epicaricacy all over FPL Twitter, and what’s worse is that people know it. Twitter is a series of moments. Brash and outlandish predictions are forgotten as quickly as they’re given. Make a controversial substitute or Captain choice, you’ll get way more interaction than deciding to Captain Aubameyang at home to West Ham. Make a bold statement that DCL will be shit and watch as people revel in your incorrect judgement. Side note: DCL is still shit. Fight me.

So why am I talking about this?

The biggest failures we have are the source of most of the interaction we get. Our biggest triumphs are usually only shared with those that have triumphed with us, and thus is capped in how far they can go. Alas, success is relative. If everyone TC Salah we’d have nothing to talk about here.

The increased need to chase this dopamine hit of likes and retweets can drive us to make poor decisions. I saw one poor sod TC Mitrovic GW1 and then subsequently delete his team. It’s funny really; the love of other peoples failures can drive them to fail further.

Some will have read this with eyes rolled back. ” People do it for attention. It’s their own bloody fault” I hear you scream. And yes, you’re right, it is most of the time. But many don’t even realise it’s happening. And why is that?

It’s the assumption that the majority of strangers you’ve never met on Twitter want you to do well. The reality is the opposite.

One thought on “Schadenfreude In FPL”

  1. Love this article and so true.
    Humans are a terrible species especially on Twitter.
    Rubber Ducks have no malice in them! FACT!


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