I love football, both watching and playing it. It is by far my favourite sport. I play a lot of ultimate frisbee which I like for many other reasons, but football has a special place in my soul. There is even a special place reserved for all the disappointment that happens when results don’t go the way I wish they would for the teams I support.
In the English Premier League I support Manchester City. I have done so since before the turn of the millennium. Cheering on Manchester City seems to get a barrage of derision from supporters of the club itself, and supporters of other clubs. There are many who think supporters of the Sky Blues have followed money. Many clubs spend big to get in quality players, so why is it a problem if another club does too? The supporters within the club constantly bicker among themselves about who is the best player, or the tactics should have been different for a particular game, or why is such-and-such on the pitch/not on the pitch. I feel sad when I hear any of these things voiced in a less than constructive way. Yes, mistakes will be made. Yes, players and managers sometimes need to move on – like we all do from certain jobs. But we support our club, so if we can voice our thoughts constructively we can show the team we support them and encourage them to continue to play as a team, rather than being another source of discontent that may harm the unity of the team.
This works for other areas of life too. If we consistently complain without searching for a solution there is very little chance the problem will be solved. If we don’t let someone know when we see injustice we don’t add intelligent weight to encourage them to change. Sometimes behaviour is obviously harmful but still needs to be pointed out to provide any healthy environment for change to better behaviour. I make mistakes. I hold on to thought and action I believe is beneficial but is actually archaic. Much of it requires critical thought and, ultimately, culling from my list of acceptable behaviours. There is sadness in this, that I have been doing things wrong and need to change. But this disappointment in myself will serve only to focus my mind on the negative if that’s all I let it do. Instead, I apologise where necessary, and work to fix ill feeling I have caused.
To try and round off my point here I’ll return to my beloved Manchester City football club. Watching Manchester City play in the Champions League is like slowly pulling a bandaid off. There comes a point every year where you know the pain will come, it’s just a matter of when. They play well when they play together as a team the best way they know how. For this to work the manager must trust in his tactics, and trust the players to make good decisions within the structure. In the most recent game he changed their tactics quite dramatically from what had become their norm. Instead of playing attacking football, they set up more defensively. It didn’t work. The team they played exploited weaknesses and Manchester City one again fell at a hurdle they were expected to overcome easily. The disappointment etched on their faces seemed to exist right from the beginning of the game. Something wasn’t right, and if you’re a supporter of a sports team you’ll know some days things just don’t click. Change is what is required here. If something is not working don’t wallow in the disappointment of our poor judgement. Make a change and attempt to fix the problem. For whatever reason the manager did not make changes early enough and the team paid the price.
Needless to say I’m disappointed in the result. Change is needed to find a way for the team to make it further in the competition. Constructively communicating how to work towards that is the best way, not spouting vitriol and insults. I’m not a manager or a player but in most cases I believe they are trying their best to win. Sometimes the other team, for whatever reason, just plays a better game. Focus on the next opportunity to win.
Where do you find your disappointment? How do you move your mind forward to focus on solutions?
Thank you, dear readers, for joining me on this journey into the unknown that is 2020. Keep on keeping on, and choosing kindness. Peace.