In sports, it appears we’ve become crazed with instant success. Dynasties have become few and far between and long term appointments of managers, coaches and even players’ time in the limelight have been cut short. There are exceptions, but for the most part, everyone wants instant gratification.
The problem with that is every manager has a plan, every coach has a strategy, and every player goes through slumps. We are far too quick as fans to pass judgement as if we could do any better. An example of, “good things come to those who wait,” is Liverpool Football Club. Jurgen Klopp came in and didn’t do well in his first season in the English Premier League. There was never any panic, and the club believed in his vision and plan, and it paid off when they were crowned champions of Europe and the following season crowned champions of England for the first time in 30 years.
If we look at their rivals Manchester United, they had one of the greatest sporting dynasties in sports history, Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm. They have now fallen victim to their own success with a fan base that expects to win every season. Every manager that walked through those doors had the weight of expectation to produce a “results-driven team, placed squarely on their shoulders. Since Sir Alex retired, United have been through 4 managers in 7 and a half years, searching once again for the promised land and their best chance has presented itself this season probably from the most unlikely of sources.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær, who was an interim manager, after one of the modern great managers, Jose Mourinho, also failed to live up to the lofty ambitions of the club! To say Ole’s time at United hasn’t been fraught with controversy would be a lie as he has faced adversity with United. There have been other managers twice in the 2, and a half years he has been in charge, but they stuck with him, and it would appear that things are changing at Old Trafford. United sit pretty on top of the league table, three points clear of Liverpool and can take a 6 point lead if they beat Liverpool on Saturday evening. It’s a position United haven’t been in for over 7 years, and it has the fan base excited once more about what could be.
The trends of instant social media are beginning to indicate that people want a slower pace of life. Globally one of the biggest podcasts, The Joe Rogan show, episodes is approximately 3 hours long. The wheels of change are turning, but perhaps they are turning slowly, so the world hasn’t caught on yet. One of the lessons Covid19 has taught us is that we need to slow down, take a look around and reevaluate what is important.
In a sporting context, however, the need for instant success is pushing the boundaries of what is possible, and while the fans love it, this cannot last. The time will come where team rebuilds happen, and we, as fans have to be patient. The only problem is that with social media around, everyone has an opinion, and those opinions can be shared at a click of a button. Ultimately, we will get a watered-down version of the sports we love, and by that time it might be too late to turn back.
I, for one, am glad we are starting to see more and more sports teams being patient and willing to play the long game. When they eventually achieve the success that their perseverance so deserves that feeling will be worth the wait, and as fans, we need to exercise patients. It is difficult, but remember these professional athletes on any given day are ten times better than you at what they do. And just like you make mistakes, so do they, the difference being that their mistakes cost millions and sometimes their jobs!