The big, slow and boring bus will get you thereMay 8, 2015
If you have an internet connection and are active on Social media you will know what happened this weekend. You don’t even need to be a fan. It was a long weekend, a good way to start the month despite the dull and cold May weather. There was more in store: Chelsea were on the verge of clinching the English Premier League Title provided they beat Crystal Palace and Manny was facing Money in what marketers called the fight of the century. Am not sure what they meant by that, because we are yet not a quarter into the century. Could it be they meant fight of the decade? Could it be they meant fight of the century in terms of revenue? Because in fighting terms, lots of fights take place in the city streets that deserve that tag.
Chelsea won the English Premier League 2015, and Mayweather won the over-hyped boxing match. Which brings me to the subject of this article – the boring bus. Throughout the 2014/2015 season, football fans branded Chelsea a boring team that ‘parks the bus’ to win a game. In case you are catching up, parking a bus means laying back and blocking all shots to prevent the attacking team from scoring. That’s what Mayweather did, and that’s what Chelsea did. Now they are being branded as boring.
Sure, they are. But they stuck to the rule of the game – getting the vital points to win. Don’t you think it’s better to be boring but do what it takes to win? After watching the weekend’s happenings, I got myself in deep thought. I looked at all the Arsenal matches I have watched in my life. Yes they were entertaining, but they got nothing out of them. When Ferguson was in charge at Manchester United and Fabregas was playing for Arsenal, a match between Arsenal and United was a statistic festival for Arsenal fans an an obvious win for United. After the game, Arsenal fans would be left crying that they deserved to win because they were more entertaining, had more possession and shots on target.
I have been part of this statistics band wagon over the years but I have finally decided to ditch it because it has got me nowhere. Manchester United have now lost three games in a row and have finally replaced Arsenal fans in some sort of statistics class exchange programme. After each of these games, led by master philosopher Louis van Gaal, United fans are now claiming they played better, yet they lost.
Football aside, even in real life it’s the buses that seem to win. I happen to live in the outskirts of Nairobi, in a distant neighbourhood that has the worst traffic jams. Most people opt to take small vehicles to get to town because they seem to manoeuvre their way way out of the jams and are fast. No one gives the big bus a chance. Those who take the boring bus stand a better chance of getting to their destination safely. Here’s why: the mini-buses and cars will probably be arrested for traffic offences such as overspeeding, overlapping, overtaking or grazing another vehicle while overlapping. A bus will stick to it’s lane and drive slowly, because the driver knows they cannot afford to pull such stunts as the size of the bus makes it disadvantaged. As if that’s not enough, in the event of a head-on collision the bus would pulverize the other vehicle and it’s contents yet it’s passengers stand a higher chance of surviving. The bus fare is also cheaper. In short, the bus is better. The bus will get you there.
Enter Pacquiao and Mayweather, and the story is the same. The entertaining Pacquiao lost and the boring, defending Mayweather won. Most people say Manny should have won, but they got it all wrong. Could it be because they know little about boxing tactics? If you have watched less than 5 bouts, that could be the reason. There are many types of boxers – there are those who rely entirely rely on heavy punches that could knock out the opponent, such as Mike Tyson. Others rely on frustrating the opponent, “hugging” him to stop further blows and throwing a clinical, accurate and lethal punch that matters most – here you find Mayweather. Then there is the entertaining type – the one that throws a lot of punches and is very quick. He is eager to wrap things up as soon as possible without necessarily having to get to the twelve-th round. That’s Pacquiao. Last weekend, like Chelsea, it’s the clinical , boring and defensive boxer that carried the day. So sure was Mayweather of winning that in the final seconds of the last round, he was seen raising his hand in celebratory fashion to state that he had won. That’s because he had done his calculations well and he knew that he had thrown the vital punches that got him the winning points. See, it doesn’t matter how many shots on target you have or how many punches you have, it’s what went through that matters most.
In my thoughts I realized that even outside sports, those who attacked less and were more defensive usually won. Remember those childhood fights where a line would be drawn to represent a boundary and if one of the fighters crossed the line the fight would start? In most cases, the one who crossed the line and started the fight usually lost. In debates, those who talked less but had more points won. Given the chance, I could name a hundred more instances bit I believe we have all got the point. It pays off to be resilient, patient and clinical. The bus will get you there.