We as human beings are inherently selfish, we don’t like being called out when we are wrong and it is tough to take criticism. I, myself, am an editor for this site and when someone points out my poor grammar or a mistake in my writing, it can irk me. When writing about a league, you are supposed to know about the in’s and out’s of said league. So what happens when a team comes completely out of nowhere as far as their success this season that seemingly has no business being as good as they are and are coached by public enemy number one? You get the current iteration of the Blue Jackets. A team that can’t seem to get any respect.
There is a touch of an inferiority complex among Columbus fans and honestly, it is to be expected. Following a team in Ohio, you have heard everything under the sun about where you live and how well educated you are compared to the rest of the country. It is part of the reason why “Ohio Against The World” has been embraced by so many. You hear the criticism over your fair state and it becomes a knee-jerk reaction more than anything else.
This brings me back to my main point which is about John Tortorella.
Everything that I have predicted about John Tortorella has been wrong.
I didn’t believe that the Jackets would hire him despite all of the rumblings. I didn’t believe he would lead the team to a winning season (as the team is on pace to do as of this writing). After all, tt felt like everyone wanted to see him burn out brightly in front of the fans this year. After his run at the World Cup of Hockey, it was almost to be expected. But the coin flipped.
This surprise outcome of sustained winning is causing multiple media outlets to either fall over themselves saying that they always thought he could do it or doubling down saying that Tortorella will burn out once again.
I’m here to tell you that it is okay to admit you are wrong. Hell, we are only writing about sports after all. Everything now is so polarizing and so divided and it seems like you can only take one side or the other. The problem with that is that a lot of nuance is lost along the way. He could always end up reverting back to the old version of himself but enough time has passed that this seems to be a fundamental personality change.
As my editor/colleague Alison Lukan has pointed out to the staff at Buckeye State Hockey, the quotes coming from Mike Sullivan and John Tortorella are nearly indecipherable. Both have a Stanley Cup under their belt, albeit one happened ten years ago. Yet both are able to adapt to the new way to play the game and one is still considered a fiery mess and the other sensible and pragmatic. Sure, it will take a while for the angry Tortorella “memes” to die down but could you even imagine if Tortorella was the coach to be thrown out from a game like Sullivan was last night? They both espouse similar rhetoric, shouldn’t they be given a fair shake?
Maybe it can all be brought back to the fact that we as humans have a tough time forgiving someone for their past. Tortorella himself has admitted how wrong he was in the past, both with how he acted and how he handled some other situations. It is okay to enjoy a game at a surface level without making sweeping statements about a coach, a writer or even a fan. People and situations change, it should be acknowledged often so we can all grow and learn from our mistakes. Time for reflection is needed and what better time to look back on the Jackets season and myself then during the doldrums of January?