Yesterday I was visited by a bunch of Bible-bashers called Seventh Day Adventists and their big beef with things – amongst all the problems the world faces – is that they think the Sabbath should be on a Saturday. I argued the advantages of making it a Wednesday to break the week up, but they soon realised I wasn’t being altogether serious and left before I had to release the caged tiger I keep for just such callers.
This reminded me of a Christian I used to know and one thing that really annoyed me about him was his eternal optimism. Our job at the time was to write software for satellites and even when two years of software work – and many more years than that of hardware work – exploded on the launching pad, he simply said “never mind, I’m sure it will all turn out okay”. He came to work happy, was happy throughout the day and went home extremely happy. And this made me very grumpy indeed.
Which brings me, in a round about way, to our reserve team’s 4-3 defeat against Sunderland earlier in the week about which Pedro said:
“There were plusses from the performance – there always is.“
There weren’t any though. We lost.
I can remember seeing a feature about Australian Cricket Captain Allan Border and one of the things he told his team was that he didn’t want to hear anything about ‘positives’ or ‘playing a good game’ if they lost. He said that when they lose they must be depressed and if they weren’t he’d soon make them depressed. Apparently he’d come in to bat with someone who’d been batting for about 96 hours in 40 degree heat with a leg injury and this batsman said to Border “skip, I don’t think I can go on” to which Border replied “okay, **** off and send the next batsman in – I believe he’s a real man”. The batsman stayed on the pitch.
Now that’s the winning attitude. Border built the basics of the team that went on to completely dominate world cricket.
Here’s the rest of what Pedro said:
“I don’t know if it was a great game, and the wind spoiled it a bit, but overall we are pleased that James Perch and Danny Guthrie have got through the game, and quite often in a friendly that is the main purpose.
“So there are positives, but as always you are disappointed when you lose to Sunderland. It doesn’t matter what we say as coaches – when you get out there you want to win, especially against Sunderland.
“That’s good though as you want your players to be up for it, and it was a good game in that sense. To get a draw would have been nice, but overall I think Sunderland were probably the better team, but I think that 4-3 was a fair reflection. If it was 4-1 that would have been harsh.“
But what this whole thing got me thinking about was what makes a winning team. Sure, sometimes there’s such a gulf in skill between two teams that – bar being hit by an awful lot of particles of luck – there really can only be one winner.
Beyond that, though, they often say a home crowd can be the twelfth man and I reckon the right attitude can be the thirteenth man. It was something we developed during our Championship promotion season when they told anyone who didn’t want to be there to leave the club.
I’d like to see Alan Pardew become to Newcastle was Allan Border was to Australia and develop the attitude that losing is just unacceptable. Let’s feel rotten about losing and take no positives whatsoever from it. Equally, of course, we crow at length about wins.
Anyway, that’s my grumpy rant for the day. Have a good one and I’ll leave you with the question: What is a winning attitude and how do we develop it? (and am I being too extreme by saying we should take no positives from losing?)