Back of the net
Written by Kevin Pringle, partner
1 May 2021
Great moments in sport live long in the national consciousness (you may have heard it mentioned once or twice that England won the World Cup in 1966), but they are also deeply personal.
Last Sunday evening, while contemplating the complexities of the latest episode of Line of Duty, I was trying to follow as best I could on social media the drama of the Scottish Cup tie between Rangers and St Johnstone (my team, as a son of Perth). A goal by Rangers towards the end of extra time seemed to settle it, until the Saints’ keeper stormed up the pitch and headed the ball goalward well into injury time, taking the game to a penalty shootout that the Perth side won. Amazing stuff; the situation changed and changed again within minutes.
And that’s when my mind took me back fully 40 years to another Scottish Cup match between St Johnstone and Rangers, in February 1981. Saints were seconds away from causing a major upset, 3-2 ahead having come back from 2-0 behind, when triumph turned to disaster. On that occasion, the St Johnstone keeper was not a hero: he came out from his goal, and an injury time equaliser was headed past him. Rangers comfortably won the subsequent replay.
I remember the game vividly, partly because it was the only time I was ever in the stand section of St Johnstone’s old Muirton Park stadium. My dad delivered the club’s milk, and we got a freebie for the relative luxury of sitting on a wooden bench. I found some footage of that game and watched again as the Rangers’ equaliser was scored by Ian Redford (ironically, a Saints fan from Perthshire), who died very sadly and prematurely in 2014.
Normal life is beginning to come back, and sport is a big part of that. Some of our reading suggestions this week focus on different aspects of sport – in all its forms – and important, related concepts such as teamwork and pacing.
Hopefully, fans can return to sporting fixtures just as soon as it’s safe to do so. We need to start making memories again.
Enjoy your weekend.
1. Making the case for esports in education
While our attention is on the safe resumption of physical activity – with swimming pool and gyms re-opening in Scotland last week – this piece argues that it’s time to give esports (competitive video gaming) their place, including potentially in the education system. Viewership of top games can outstrip hockey and basketball, so find out more about what esports have to offer, including the skills and career paths they are helping to foster.
Read in Education Technology.
2. How women’s football can seize the moment after the ESL fiasco
An unreported aspect of the European Super League affair was how women’s football was merely tacked on as an afterthought to the doomed proposal for the men’s game, with no consideration given to the position or performances of female teams. Read how the authors of this article believe the women’s game can seize the moment after the ESL debacle.
Read in The Conversation.
3. “Coffee’s for closers” and the decline of tough-guy leadership tactics
Workplaces, like battlefields, have often been the scene for what experts call the “masculinity contest culture”, where managers pit employees against each other and display aggressive machismo to bring out the best in their team. But new research by business professors across several universities shows that more nurturing company cultures increase employee loyalty and retention, as well as performance. Discover why in this piece by Chris Tomlinson.
Read in the Houston Chronicle.
4. At some point, people need to slow down
We all know how quickly smartphone batteries start to deteriorate after a year or so, often leading to power shortages at the most inconvenient moment. Philip Aldrick suggests that the ‘batteries’ of fatigued remote workers might similarly be failing at the exact moment when more will be demanded of them by employers as the pandemic recedes.
Read in The Times.
5. Drowning in insecurity: young people and life after the pandemic
Millenials take lower salaries and a lower share of household earnings than their parents did. Among under-35s, a growing sense of insecurity has been exacerbated by the pandemic. The Financial Times has conducted an international survey of 1,700 under-35s. In this first of a series of articles to explain the findings, Sarah O’Connor speaks to young people across the world about their experiences of Covid and future plans.
Read in the Financial Times.
And finally… Is free will an illusion?
You might think you chose to read these words but what if it was, instead, the inevitable outcome of an unbroken chain of causes that govern the atoms you are made of? The concept of free will is a weighty subject, and Oliver Burkeman’s piece engages with the latest thinking around this age-old conundrum of the human condition.
Read in The Guardian.