Sportsmanship example, who is right?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by ark_28, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. ark_28

    ark_28 Hall of Fame

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    I played a doubles league match two nights ago! My partner and I had lost to the same pair last month 7-6 7-6 they are decent! My partner is probably the best shot maker of the 4 of us very powerful serve huge forehand but his fitness is terrible it cost us the match last time!

    This time we won the first set 6-3 2nd set we went down an early break he told me 2-0 down in set 2 he was tiring :/

    My gut instinct is always to fight for every point but I felt 2-0 down against two decent servers it was too big a risk to fight for that set lose it say 7-6 and basically ruin any chances in a 3rd!

    So I deliberately made loads of errors when I could after one or two shots to prevent any rallies or them getting confidence from hitting winners, they won set 2 6-0

    We got lucky start of set 3 they played a shocking game we broke from here I put everything into holding my serve and making sure I did a solid job atnnet so he held I made no effort to break them again we won that set 6-4.and the match 6-3 0-6 6-4

    I know one of the opponents well he implied the way I played that 2nd set and making blatant errors was not in the sprit of the game and I should have been trying to win, my theory is that what I did gave us the better chance to win.

    Who is right do you guys think?
     
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  2. tennismonkey

    tennismonkey Semi-Pro

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    complaining about tanking or throwing the second set away is like your opponent complaining that you are hitting sissy slice shots or moonballs or that you are pushing.

    he has every right to complain and have his opinions about your team's strategy.

    you have every right to be happy with your smart strategy and tactics and the W.

    but you also have to accept that some people will think less of you.

    you get the W but you don't necessarily get the respect. they are separate things.
     
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  3. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

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    getting "respect" from a sore loser is not something I strive for, I much rather would have the W.

     
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  4. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    I think its bad strategy to tank a set just because you got down a break in rec tennis. But no... l do not think it is bad sportsmanship to drop points on purpose.
     
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  5. Chivo

    Chivo New User

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    You're only down a break and you tank an entire set away.. I've been down 0-5 and came back to win 7-5,6-3.
     
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  6. cknobman

    cknobman Legend

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    I'd say you rolled the dice and got lucky. Your plan could have royally backfired just as easily as it payed off.

    I also think that throwing a set after only being a single break down is a bit premature.

    Regardless of those points what you did has little to do with sportsmanship, in my opinion, and more to do with tactics.
     
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  7. ark_28

    ark_28 Hall of Fame

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    That's the thing though it was a dilemma I always want to fight but if my partner is tiring and not able to take a long rally in the 2nd set tanking seemed an option I guess it was high risk!
     
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  8. ark_28

    ark_28 Hall of Fame

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    Fair point mate it was risky I also didn't see it as and sportsmanship though.

    @spot fair point mate
     
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  9. Jpin76

    Jpin76 New User

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    Losers always complain. don't worry about it......
     
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  10. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    The OP didn't ask if what he did was a smart strategy to win the match , he asked if it was bad sportsmanship.

    Since your plan was to save energy for the final set you were doing what you thought would give you the best chance to win the match. How is that bad sportsmanship?

    That's almost like saying it is bad sportsmanship to lob your opponents when they are both at the net.

    As long as you are trying to win the match , not trying to injure anyone in doing it I'd say it's just fine.

    Your opponent seems like a bad loser to me.

    As for the question of whether or not it was a smart way to do things ... well you won. nuf said :)
     
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  11. Douggo

    Douggo Semi-Pro

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    Having no knowledge of your partner's fitness issues, I can see how your opponents might not like it, especially if it's USTA and they might think you have sandbagging motives.
    That doesn't mean I think it's unsportsmanlike, but I can see how your opponents might think so.
     
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  12. Mike Y

    Mike Y Rookie

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    I believe Jimmy Connors deliberately tanked the 4th set of a match at the US Open to give him a better chance of winning the 5th set, which he did. I know he is not the model of sportsmanship, but it is legitimate match strategy.

    But instead of deliberately making errors, why don't you go for high-risk winners early in the point instead? If they go in, then you have the lead again and you can win outright in two. If they don't go in, then you have the same intended effect of losing the 2nd set without expending too much energy, and without any question of sportsmanship.
     
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  13. Tennis Truth

    Tennis Truth Rookie

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    Does your partner weigh like 600 lbs? How can someone get tired in doubles after one set? You deal with fitness very often in singles, but I don't think I have dealt with the issue after one set of doubles.

    In my opinion your strategy was poor. Throwing away a set after being down one break does not make sense. You must have broken them in set one to win 6-3, so you could have broken back.

    Is your partner LESS tired in set three, than he was in set two?

    How long are the rallies going?

    If you are down in set two, a better strategy might be to play first strike tennis and go much more aggressive, rather than making deliberate errors. The points will end quickly, but you may find yourself back in the match.
     
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  14. schmke

    schmke Professional

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    Because it isn't a black or white proposition. What if half of these high-risk shots go in? It could just prolong the set and they lose 6-4 having played 4 extra games sapping more of his partner's energy.

    Having said that, I think going for winners probably could have been done for a game or two. If the strategy gets the break back, you are back on equal footing. If you stay a break down (or worse) after a couple games of this strategy, then perhaps time for a change if the partner really only has another set in him.
     
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  15. Brian11785

    Brian11785 Hall of Fame

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    Meh. I think tanking only gets a bad name in pro tennis because it cheats spectators out of the match they were hoping/paying for. And of course, there are issues involving tanking to avoid being bumped up to a higher level in USTA or whatnot. But short of that, do what you have to do. I don't see a problem.

    Is it unsportsmanlike to "tank" a return game that you are down 0-30 in?
     
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  16. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    What level are you?? Because unless you are 4.5+, I just don't see how what you did was smart (sportsmanship aside). You're only 2 games down with the rest of the set to play...were you playing against players with monster serves??

    Anyway....you won fair and square. Conserving energy as a part of game tactics is par for the course, for any sport, not just tennis.
     
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  17. ark_28

    ark_28 Hall of Fame

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    Without being unkind! My partner is a big guy let us say! We play in the UK but I have been told I am a strong 3.5 touching 4.0 definitely not 4.5.

    Reading what you guys have said on hindsight there definitely were other options available I was working on this basis, despite seeming tired his serve was still popping the break was my fault I lost cocentration and missed some easy volleys!

    But while they aren't massive servers there serves were affective I just felt to break was going to take a big effort but he had enough energy if I volleyed well to keep holding!

    On that basis I felt no point wasting energy trying to get a break back they were serving well volleying well and keeping the ball on him was tough for me as they saw him tiring!

    So strategy simply was get to the 3rd just keep holding and either sneak one break or get it done in a tiebreaker that they gifted us a break was a massive bonus that I didnt expect!

    Apart from the one game we broke in first set we had not come close to breaking and that game had lots of deuces I just felt with him tiring we couldn't afford another game like that in set 2 from 2-0 down!
     
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  18. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    I don't think there is an issue of sportsmanship - at least not in rec play. If you think that's a good tactic, then you can do it.

    [Note that in ATP, this is *not* allowed - a player can be fined for not trying hard enough. But that's because spectators paid good money to watch tennis.]

    Whether not it is a smart tactic is a different question. Like others have said, I would rather have just gone for clean winners on every shot. Worst case you lose the point. But you have at least a chance of winning the point there and then, and one break is not a lot to be down at the 3.5/4.0 levels (generally more breaking of serve going on at those levels than at higher levels).

    Just as an aside - I don't think I've ever seen fitness being an issue in a 3.5/4.0 dubs match, unless this guy had already played a lot of tennis on the same day, or is elderly.
     
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  19. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    I would be just offended that I played a match with somebody this dumb... And lost.
     
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  20. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    I think it was just a strategic option you chose, not a gamesmanship or sportsmanship issue at all. I did something similar in a singles match where we were playing using a 10 point tiebreaker in lieu of a third set. I beat the guy I was playing 6-2 in the first set but was broken twice in the first 3 games of the second. Rather than focus on trying to win the 2nd set from 0-3 down I pretty much conceded him the set but focused in the remaining games on moving him side to side as much as possible and didn't really go for many winners at all. I was thinking I just wanted to extend the match as long as possible as he was a big guy who perhaps had questionable fitness.

    In the TB I kind of surprised him by changing tactics and again like I did in the first set starting hitting away and coming to the net a lot which I think threw him off his game and I consequently won the TB easily 10-4.

    I think this is just one strategic option for playing a certain way. As long as your overall intent is still to win the match everything within the CODE is fair game. I'd compare it to the analogy in american football of letting an opponent score quickly if time is running down so you can get the ball back with enough time to make the last score of the game.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013
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  21. JLyon

    JLyon Hall of Fame

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    playing doubles why would you be having long rallies in the first place unless your playing 4 back sissy doubles. Being one break down is nothing, get returns in and take the net and their should not be long rallies to get tired over, especially being a later winter match.
     
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  22. asimple

    asimple Semi-Pro

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    Sadly, I have done this quite a few times but in general haven't been that effective. There was even 2 times that I started throwing the set before the first point to take a rest. My fitness has always been somewhat lacking but these were singles matches. I can't imagine doing this in doubles.

    The problem with this strategy for me is that I can have issues getting back into play in the 3rd. This goes both ways though which is probably one of the reasons your opponents weren't happy. It's definitely not bad sportsmanship though.
     
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  23. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    If I were your opponents I might have been upset that you purposely gave me a worse playing experience simply to earn a win.

    Clearly you guys are close on the courts so I am sure the other folks expected a quality match and got 1/2 of a good match.

    However, i do not think they should be upset about the manner in which you won, and I would not consider it gamesmanship. Just a lost opportunity for some better tennis.
     
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  24. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    If it's a timed match I wouldn't call it bad sportsmanship.

    I've been in a situation in a timed match where there isn't enough time to fight for the second set and get a win.

    At that point you're basically forced to dump the set then try to win it in the tie break.

    If I had time, I'd prefer to fight for the second set, but you can't use your opponent's actions in the second set as an excuse for the loss. If they want to practice playing horrible tennis for a set let them. They may not be able to pick up their games when it counts.
     
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  25. amorris525

    amorris525 Rookie

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    This wasn't me, but someone I know had just won a super long 3-set match in 100 degree heat and had to play afterwards with about a 30 minute rest. He won the first set and realized he could beat the kid pretty handily, but he was broken early in the second. He decided to completely tank the second set as he was virtually dead tired and he ended up winning the third set because it was a 10-point tiebreak for the third set. Great strategy IMO.
     
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  26. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    In that situation, I suspect almost everyone would have done the same. Singles is a bit different IMO. You are pulling more on physical fitness, less on your tennis skill and tactics. I was beaten by an older guy last year in a way that made me think he did not give 100% in the 2nd set once I got ahead. It is a fair tactic, especially in singles.
     
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  27. tamdoankc

    tamdoankc Rookie

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    It could be a case that tanking the second set made your opponents lose their rhythm. I think it's fair though, unless you played the second set with your opposite hand.
     
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  28. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    You're right, singles is different.

    Also different is that in this guy's case there was a 10-point played instead of 3rd set, vs OP where there was going to be a full 3rd.

    It's one thing to conserve energy for a short burst at a 10-point, but less payoff to conserving energy in 2nd if you then still have to expend energy in a full 3rd.
     
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  29. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    I don't understand. Your partner is too tired in the second set to win, but somehow he is less tired and able to win in the third set? That doesn't make any sense to me.
     
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  30. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    You aren't the only one... I have never heard this before.. :|

    Maybe he wanted to have more playing time instead of winning in straights or something?
     
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  31. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I think we have to remember that this is league tennis, not Wimbledon.

    Opponents are entitled to certain things. I think they are entitled to your best efforts. I think it is poor sportsmanship to deliberately smack shots into the net so that you can achieve some other objective (e.g. manage your rating). No one comes to the tennis court so their opponent can waste their time.

    In this case, the objective was to win that particular match, so I guess it was reasonable sportsmanship.

    It was, as others have said, quite silly to assume that being down a single break in 3.5 tennis means the set is lost.

    I think that up to the 4.0 level, breaks are meaningless. In other words, the serves are not so dominant and consistent that that losing serve in doubles means you are at some huge disadvantage.

    Say you told four average computer-rated 3.5 players to play a doubles match. Rather than alternating service games, one team would serve for the entire match. The next day, they would play again, but the other team would serve the entire match.

    I say the results on both days would be pretty much the same.
     
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  32. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Cindy makes some great points, that previous posters also noted.

    To collate them:

    1- It is not unsportsmanlike to not waste energy in a "lost" set or game, to concentrate on the next winable set or game. Pros, after all, do it on a fairly routine basis.

    2- The OP's situation is not a reasonable example of the issue in #1.

    3- You could argue that at 3.5 that sort of thing would be extremely rare to nonexistant.
     
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  33. Coach Carter

    Coach Carter Rookie

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    At this level, anything could happen. You are talking 3.5 tennis...people aren't holding serve everytime. I think you gave your opponents way too much credit. I think your partner saying "I'm gassed" early in the 2nd set is an issue for sure at 0-2. You guys should have stayed in that set to see what happened. You got lucky, because he very well could have collapsed in set 3.
     
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  34. asimple

    asimple Semi-Pro

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    A set even a bagel can take about 15-20 minutes at a minimum. This is a very nice rest break if you are exhausted especially with the changeover breaks. If you are in poor condition recovering from a long point or set of points can take a while and this definitely can help.
     
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  35. Chelsie1

    Chelsie1 Rookie

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    Have you ever seen the pros who just hold their serve and forget about breaking? Then at the appropriate time (eg. late in the 3rd or 5th), they break and win the match? Pete Sampras did it a lot. Strategy wins wars.
     
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  36. storypeddler

    storypeddler Semi-Pro

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    I don't know if your decision was smart or not---I leave that to you to decide since you were there playing and I wasn't. But the question of sportsmanship isn't even an issue. In your opinion, you sacrifice a set in order to give yourselves the best chance at winning the match. That is strategy, pure and simple. You lose a battle but win the war. Sounds to me like sour grapes from an opponent who lost the match. Take the win and be proud of your ability to pull off a tricky---and dangerous---gamble. Nicely done.
     
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  37. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    A strategy where you are reducing the chances of you winning is not much of strategy. At this level of tennis, service breaks happen all the time. By giving away the second set, OP lowered his chance of winning. It doesn't matter he won eventually, he made things much more difficult for himself.
     
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  38. Sakkijarvi

    Sakkijarvi Semi-Pro

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    Playing a singles match, club match with USTA format. Win the first set, down 1-4 in the second and feel energy slipping away. Tank rest of second set, save energy for 10 point super tiebreaker, hang on to win it 10-8. Bad sportsmanship or good tactics?
     
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  39. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

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    Gameboy, are you saying that using a low percentage strategy is necessarily bad sportsmanship?

     
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  40. TennisDawg

    TennisDawg Semi-Pro

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    No, I don't think it's bad strategy and no rules were broken. You won the match fair and square. My questions are if you're partner is tired after a 6-4 first set, why would he be in any better shape in a 3rd set?? And you're partner should look into getting himself in shape to play tennis, he/she has to go 2 of 3 sets or else join a league with a 1-set format.
     
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  41. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    Good tactics or not is debatable, I personally think the strategy has it's merits ... but definitely not bad sportsmanship.

    The idea is that after the first set his partner had enough energy for 1 more set but probably not 2. And since they were already behind in the 2nd set he did not want to risk using his partners energy in an attempt to come back only to fail and then not have the energy required to be competitive in the 3rd set.

    By tanking the 2nd set he saved the energy his partner did have left to play from an even position in the 3rd set.
     
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  42. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    Actually you don't know that the OP lowered his chances of winning.

    Had he not tanked the 2nd set and attempted to come back from the deficit he was in he very well could have still lost the 2nd set and by spending his partners energy in that attempt to win the 2nd set they may have also lost the 3rd set because his partner was now too tired.
     
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  43. Alex78

    Alex78 Semi-Pro

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    Would Isner do it?
    (tank a whole set at 0-2 in order to storm back?)
     
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