The reserve's siren sounds. Its time. TTLs first run-on for '14. Enthusiastically TTL chucks back his beer, pulls on the boots, vainly attempts to touch his toes as a warm-up and jogs on to Titan's first grade with his esteemed team mates and offers this 742 words below the line (OWC).
In the Genes? An Origin Hypothesis
It struck me over dinner. Sweating in the Singapore heat, I listened to mate Steve as he revisited his Origin experiences in various Asian bars. Perhaps it was the chilli stingray, but my grey matter went into overdrive as I hypothesised that the State of Origin impact on the blue tribe may actually alter optimism, belief, hope and risk responses. Could it be that losing repeatedly traps the cockroaches into an inescapable losers paradigm where they re-enact loser scenarios? More! Are they simply stuck in a losers loop or is it much more sinister than that? In essence, a continuum of Loserness where the eight year increments of loss have altered the fabric of Blues genetic makeup??
I postulate a Loserness model with two polarities: Consciously Incompetent repeat offenders; and Unconsciously Incompetent paradigm absorbers (1) . Considering Blues show up year after year for the ritual emotional cycle of a) optimism (defy history), b) shock (the Refs are blind), c) disbelief (wha?), d) realisation (oh the déjà vu!), e) deep depression (sob) one could apply consciously incompetent. But I wondered if theyve absorbed losing more at some genetic level; hence unconsciously incompetent.
Back to dinner and to explain where my hypothesis came from.
Sometimes congenital losers compel themselves to play into our hands. After covering the safe subjects (kids, work, old colleagues peccadilloes, chilli crab) the League God nudged Steve into delivering a massive knock-on. He asked me, naively, if I follow the footy. Mate, I responded earnestly, I follow any code played by real men i.e. not soccer.
My run of luck continued. Steve asked me where I came from. Darling Downs, mate was my confident reply.
Great said Steve, do you watch Origin? We could catch the series here if we find the right bar.
So Steve I slyly responded, not gaining eye contact lest he back pedal and change the subject I know you lived at Broady for years but arent you, um, Blue?
The throng (Mrs TTL and Steves spouse) hushed. They knew the significance of the answer and could see the Origin trap into which Steve was meandering. Mrs TTL, brave soul from south of the Tweed and immune to my regular Origin rants, was ready to boot me under the table should I be too, well, Queenslanderish.
Steve, putting a brave face on obvious pain: Yeah mate, Im a cockroach and proceeded to talk about his father-in-law who, though Wagga-born, barracks for the Maroons (the wisdom of the aged?) and his teenage son, born on the Gold Coast and a passionate Cane Toad. What about last year when we came so close
But I was only half listening. I was in secret, grateful commune with the League God.
And so I started. Yes, shamelessly I wallowed in tribal loser-bashing. I was, so I was informed in short order the next morning, at my boorish Queensland best.
But did Steve tell me where to stick my head? Did he respond with epithets citing the Blues former glory? Change the subject to Sheffield Shield or Aussie Rules? None! He tried to provoke by revisiting the behaviour of Lang Park crowds. A fair effort, but easily deflected. For the rest of my humorous diatribe he just copped it like it was the usual role of a southerner to bear witness to the wonders of Queenslands winning streak. But then, and this prompted the Loserness/loser gene theory, Steve started musing about the ultimate death of Origin if Queensland were to keep winning.
A Consciously Incompetent loser would layer defence against my barbs before accepting a) he knows Queensland will win, but b) he doesnt care, hes going to keep fronting up and to hell with the cost because one day the Blues will triumph!
An Unconsciously Incompetent loser absorbs the paradigm of Queensland Wins, NSW Loses at a genetic level. He accepts this as so incontestably true that he starts to worry about not being able to wallow with his co-losers each future origin season.
Steve, otherwise intelligent, urbane and successful, exhibited the latter which indicates that his Loserness is not operating on a conscious level. Blues are indeed trapped in the losers paradigm where they compel each other to re-enact last years soul destroying losses. Loserness has filtered down from conscious to subconscious to genes.
1. Apologies to Noel Burch of Gordon Training International who developed the Conscious Competence Ladder.