Impatience Is The New Patience11.21.09
Microblogging. 24-hour news. Instant messaging. YouTube. We are the culture of now is already too late.
Of course, I am not immune to this shift from novels, two-and-a-half-hour films, and land phone lines to 30-second clips, feature-length commercials, and toddlers text messaging. I’m right in the thick of it. And I love it.
I’m addicted to Twitter. I prefer texting over actually talking on the phone. I have to force myself to do anything for longer than five minutes at a time or without several other things going simultaneously. My brain needs constant stimuli from all directions at all times. I’m struggling to not check my phone for messages at this very moment despite the fact that it’s sitting right next to me and hasn’t beeped or lit up in the past hour so I know for a fact that no one has contacted me. It’s become habit and also a comforting device. Healthy? No idea. All I know is that the little Tweetie icon in my toolbar is glowing blue so I know someone has posted some 140-or-less words of brilliance that I must read as soon as humanly possible.
(I just checked my Tweetie – nothing of monumental importance – and my phone – and now I’ve lost my train of thought.)
So there are some downsides to this shift. Our need for constant stimuli has made us virtually devoid of patience. Seriously – I bet an overwhelming majority of you reading this post won’t even make it past the next paragraph because reading this will take far too long for your attention span. We’ve become so accustomed to having everything at our fingertips the nanosecond that we want them that when we’re forced to actually wait for things to develop in real-time – and by real-time I mean pre-TADD (Technologically-induced Attention Deficit Disorder) – we freak out. We seriously can’t handle it.
Let me give an example:
Today was the annual meeting of the Michigan and Ohio State football teams. Michigan is currently rebuilding with second-year coach Rich Rodriguez, who has implemented a vastly different offensive system that requires a different type of athlete than which usually plays in Ann Arbor. This has led to some serious growing pains. For some, the growing pains are far too tough to handle. With ending the season with another loss to Ohio State (this afternoon makes it six in a row, and seven out of the last eight), fans are clamoring for Rodriguez’s ouster, after just two seasons as head coach and the first with a group of kids that he actually recruited. Many have been wanting him fired since the middle of the season when the team lost to rival Michigan State, a mere five games into his second campaign. In fact, the word “embattled” became a common adjective for the coach even before the team took a snap this season.
It seems that no one has the time to wait for a program to develop anymore. Being a Michigan fan, I feel the pain of going 1-7 in the Big Ten. I feel the pang in my stomach after losing to our bitter rival for the better part of a decade. My afternoons get ruined when we commit five turnovers and look like a shell of what our team used to be week in and week out in years past. So I could easily jump on the bandwagon and call for Rodriguez’s head and blast the system every single time there’s a bad play call, a bad decision by an in-over-his-head athlete, or just a lack of talent on either side of the ball. But what’s the point?
Look at the alternative: RichRod gets fired. We bring in someone else, maybe someone with Michigan ties or someone who runs more of a traditional pro-style offense. He can’t run that system with the current personnel so he starts off with a less-than-amazing first season. Fans either get their hopes way too high after a strong victory over a solid opponent, or they lambaste the program for continuing the losing ways. They hope for next year when the coach has installed his own players – who will be young and inexperienced at the collegiate level and need to go through their own learning curve, as well, just like our current crop of footballers. What then? What if it’s another mediocre season? Fire that guy and just keep on going on like that until we just happen to get lucky? To me, that makes little sense. We’ve invested in Rodriguez and our system, whether we all agree with it or not, and we owe it to the program to give him the real time it needs to succeed or fail.
We have to adapt to culture shifts, not fight against them with all our might. Things change, momentum shifts, and life evolves. No one can wait for anything anymore. Not traffic lights, lines at the grocery store, web browsers to load, and certainly not Michigan football to get back to its winning ways.
Things aren’t going to change and I, for one, don’t really want them to. I’ll take the bad with the good. I’ll try to sit on the deck of this new TADD world while keeping my toes dipped in the pool of the old days. I’m going to give Rich Rodriguez at least another year before I start questioning his ability to coach Michigan football into a perennial winner. At least. No one wins championships with a team of freshmen, so I’m going to wait for these kids to mature, Rodriguez to get his recruiting machine moving, and hope that in the next year or two we get back on the winning track. I hate losing, especially this much, but I am going to be patient. Even though, I can barely sit still without checking my email, my text messages, my Facebook status, and my Twitter account all at the same time and that impatience has become the new patience.
(For those of you who made it this far – I commend you. Had I not been the author of this blog, I doubt I’d have made it to the end, either. Maybe I should’ve posted this is 140-word installments instead.)