Believe in Steve (or, Why Patience Will Help You Get Laid and Stuff)

I am a firm believer in patience. We live in a world that’s all about moving quickly, reacting, and analyzing big, important topics in, say, 140-character blurbs of irreverence. We expect certain outcomes in life, and when those outcomes don’t immediately transpire, we tend to freak the hell out.

Take, for instance, marriage.

We grow up thinking we’ll all be married by our mid-twenties. We don’t even consider alternatives, really. We’ll graduate high school, then either enter the working world or head off to college. We’ll meet someone in those formative years just outside our teens, fall in love, and be bound by law no later than age 25. Might as well be a theme park ride.

But ultimately, what happens? We exit our youth, forge our way into adulthood, meet people, try ’em out, have our hearts broken a few times, break some hearts simultaneously, then settle into our mid-lives wondering how the Tunnel of Love became this odd little roller coaster. And it’s not a bad thing. Not at all. From a guy’s perspective, it’s great. Maybe not as great if you’re a girl, but I wouldn’t know because I’ve never been one. Though if I was a girl, I’d play with my boobs every day. I’d probably just stay at home and sit there topless while I enjoyed this beautiful gift that had been bestowed upon my chest. I realize I’m trending down an awkward road here, so we’ll just go ahead and move on.

This potpourri of marriage and boobs and whatnot leads me back to the topic at-hand: patience. And here’s where my message gets targeted mostly to the gentlemen in the crowd. Apologies, ladies. But please, bear with me.

Guys, listen. Be patient. That girl you’re with at 18? You don’t love her. You think you love her because she’s the first person outside of your own damn self who will do things to your penis. That doesn’t constitute love, as your twenties will later reinforce. That’s just a good time.

And let me tell you something else. As you get older, that good time gets better. Really. And you know why? Because the girls get more attractive. They do. Those attractive girls are much more willing to settle for your average ass as time goes by. And why is that? Because that pond of romantic solitude has lost so many good-looking fish over the years. Consider that in high school and college, everyone is single (relatively speaking). So what do the attractive girls do? They go after the very best. Makes sense. Muscles, good at sports, and a decent student? Who wouldn’t want that? Can’t blame ’em. But as those good-looking guys go off and marry the women they’ll later divorce, a whole host of eligible bachelorettes are left standing on the sidelines, waiting for Mister Right to come along. And when there are no more lecture halls or frat mixers to aid prospective romance, it gets that much more difficult to find a suitable mate.

That’s where you come in, average dude. You’ve done nothing to improve yourself, yet all those above-average dudes you once competed with for attention are now cheating on their wives (or, in special cases, actually remaining faithful to their young brides). You look that much better in your late-twenties or early-thirties than you did as a semi-fit twenty-one-year-old. Good for you for making the most of that middling hand you were dealt! And what has led you to this haven of good fortune? Yes, gentlemen. Patience.

You might be wondering where in the world this conversation we’re having is going. That’s a good question, to which I have an answer. This lesson in patience, you see, brings us to the world of college football, and more specifically coaching college football.

The business of coaching college football is one that is absolutely overwrought by a lack of patience. It’s one thing to analyze a situation; it’s a whole ‘nother matter when you hastily and reactively scrutinize that same situation. There may be no job title more hastily and reactively scrutinized than that of Head College Football Coach. And among the scrutinized in the professional realm of head college football coaches is none other than the University of Washington’s own Steve Sarkisian.

Two weeks ago, there were actually people out there who were questioning Sarkisian’s job security. The man who had seemingly rescued Husky Football from the abyss that was the Tyrone Willingham era, who had taken his team to two straight bowl games, and who was sitting at 2-1 on the year, no less, was being thrown under the bus by a subset of UW fans. It made little to no sense. But again, we’re an impatient society. So in some ways, it made perfect sense.

Sure, people were disappointed in a season-opening win (a win!) against San Diego State. And yeah, there was legitimate outcry over an absolute drubbing that resulted in only three points against LSU. But there was a 52-13 beatdown (okay, anticipated beatdown) of Portland State to fall back on. Yet still, the masses were unsettled.

Just a few days later, Washington took to the gridiron and knocked off eighth-ranked Stanford. It was an improbable upset. Washington hadn’t just been beaten by Stanford in the teams’ most recent meetings, it had been annihilated. And so as thousands upon thousands of Husky fans stormed the playing surface of CenturyLink Field on an unseasonably mild Thursday evening, I couldn’t help but wonder what the Sark scrutinizers were thinking at that moment.

With one game, Sarkisian had jettisoned his critics, sending the internet cynics back to doing whatever it is internet cynics do when they’re not being cynical. He had changed public perception with the help of a defense that had allowed a whopping 65 points to the same Stanford Cardinal a year earlier. A Stanford Cardinal team that, on this particular evening, had managed 52 fewer points than a season prior. It was an unbelievable victory, made even more unbelievable by the lukewarm start to the 2012 campaign and the ensuing criticism that had spawned from that tepid commencement.

Eight times the sun has set since the kickoff of that decidedly unexpected victory. We are now one sunset away from a matchup versus second-ranked Oregon. Who knows for sure what will happen in Eugene on Saturday night. A win would be surprising, certainly, but not nearly as surprising as it may have been one fortnight in the past.

Win or lose, though, Sark will enter the night’s contest with greater support from the Washington fan base than he previously had nine nights earlier. Which is saying something. Since all it took was a single matchup to change, well, everything.

It is said that fifty-percent of marriages in America end in divorce. We get married young, we get married spontaneously, we get married believing in an ideal fantasy that never quite materializes. We expect utopia, but are greeted with a dystopic reality. Which makes patience that much more important. It’s better to wait for the right outcome than to try and force the wrong one.

Steve Sarkisian has his faults. He could be a little nicer to the media, for one. Maybe work on the wardrobe a bit, lose the visor. He’s not perfect by any means.

But when it comes to coaching Husky Football, I urge everyone to exercise patience with the Huskies’ patriarch. Eventually, Sark and the University of Washington will divorce. He’ll retire, get fired, or leave for greener pastures. It happens. Nothing lasts forever. There are any number of cliches to describe it.

In the meantime, Steve Sarkisian will continue to be the Mister Right this school found when they went searching for a coach nearly four years ago. He’s done good things so far. I’d wager the best is yet to come.

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