When I sat down to write this column it was with no confidence my words would be relevant hours later. This is the landscape of news we’re dealing with. I hate to be one of those boring bullfrogs who bang on about social media, but sadly, I’m about to be.
Your Twitter, Facebook and Instagram allows you to have access to news within seconds of it happening anywhere around the world, whereas 10 years ago you would have read it on the back page of the newspaper the following day (or from a post-it on your door at university, which is how I found out about Andrew Johns’ retirement... it still hurts).
With news travelling faster than you can find the shocked-face emoji on your smart phone, we’re digesting more information than we can deal with.
On Monday alone, Jason Taylor was sacked as Wests Tigers coach and the NRL announced record-breaking fines for three clubs who were seen to breach concussion guidelines in Round 3. Side note, Storm prop Jordan McLean also signed with the Cowboys and Chris Grevsmuhl gave up his new career as a builder in Orange to join the Titans. All in a day.
Here we were, Monday in the Big League office, going about our normal routine of a bit of writing in between a lot of banter, when the landscape of Round 4 changed before our eyes. The things we had planned for the magazine were no longer relevant in the new context of the game.
This is the nature of the media of course – it’s what makes being a journalist so exciting. In moments like this, my mind automatically goes to that scene in ‘Men in Black’ when Tommy Lee Jones says: “500 years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat and 15 minutes ago you knew humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you will know tomorrow.” I know, right? Read into that what you will.
But take this idea and apply it to the modern game.
We cannot be complacent in the way we consume or report rugby league, because the game itself is anything but stagnant. It’s always changing.
How many people tipped the Cowboys to beat Manly in Round 3? Probably the same number of people who assumed the Sharks were specials to beat the Dragons at Southern Cross Group Stadium, or think three rounds is too soon to know if a coach deserves the sack. Logic and probability has no place here. We simply move too fast for it. For the record, that unpredictability is the reason why the random person in your family tipping comp always wins despite picking games based on the cutest mascot/best colour combo. The only thing we can be sure of is we know nothing.
If you’re a Wests Tigers fan and you’re feeling down in the dumps about leaking 100 points in three rounds and facing the undefeated Melbourne on Sunday, take heart in knowing anything is possible. Because as we learn this week, and every week, stranger things have happened. At any moment we’re seconds away from the entire game changing, so we may as well enjoy the ride while we’re on it.
The Round 4 issue of Big League is on sale now at newsagents and at the ground. Digital version also available through Apple iTunes, Google Play or www.zinio.com.