On a global, national, local and, for many of us, personal, level, this year has been a complete dumpster fire.
I mean, remember back in January when we thought that after the big Australian fires, the year could only get better?
That being said, there has been one, beautiful, bright point of light this year. Actually, 2020 tried to extinguish this light in the same way it snuffed out so many other things that brought us joy, but fortunately destiny was much too powerful in this case.
Of course, I refer to the glorious fact that Liverpool FC won the Premier League for the first time in 30 years. That shouldn't be a surprise, since the title of the post gave it away.
There will be many of you who find the idea that this should be important to you to be laughable. Rival fans (as if the Reds have a rival right now) might scoff, and people who don't watch or enjoy football at all might need some convincing too.
There are several reasons why this win should uplift and encourage not just the faithful Liverpool supporters, but all of us:
1) The Nice Guys Win in the End
Here's a crazy thing: other fans like our team and coach. Can you imagine how hard it must be for a Man Utd supporter to say, "Okay...I'll admit...Klopp is a great coach". Generally, this team isn't known for theatrics, or surrounding the ref when a doubtful call is made, or for completely flopping in the hope for the penalty. And it's hard to dislike a team whose manager is the first to point out, with great respect, the other team's strengths. There aren't any players on the pitch whose behaviour has to be justified with "that's the way they play the game".
Maybe...just maybe...this can be true for other parts of life?
2) Patience Pays Off
Thirty years. Let that sink in. My entire football supporting life, I've waited for this moment - and I'm not alone in that. Around the world, millions of Liverpool supporters watched as we got agonizingly close, only to lose it with a slip (the pain of that moment) or by being beaten by a freakishly good team.
We've waited while the team languished in the bottom half the league, when the idea that Liverpool would ever be a contender, let alone win it, would have gotten you laughed out of any football conversation.
But all that waiting has paid off, and the feeling is, frankly, indescribable. The joy from finally experiencing the moment has been made so much sweeter by the wait.
And look, we all have that big, impossible dream. You might be working towards it (as I am), and right now it might not seem worth it, but this has shown us that IT SO IS.
3) Greatness is Possible Again
I can't imagine what it must be like to be an older Liverpool supporter, who watched how they dominated in the 70s and 80s, only to see that all drift away as other power house teams took turns at being number 1. It must have been so painful.
Yes, it took a LONG time, but the big wheel has turned, and it seems to be our turn right now. Hopefully it will be for a good many years, but the reality is, it won't last forever. For supporters of other teams who used to be great but are now struggling, Liverpool doing so well these past few years is good thing - if a team that was just a few seasons ago struggling in the bottom half table is able to get back to the top, then it's possible for other teams to do the same.
Beyond football, this is also true! For me, that means that even though I'm still fairly low down the totem pole in this content creation thing, there is still a chance I can work my up to be a real force to be reckoned with. I think we're all have something that we can relate to that too.
4) Hard Work is Always Worthwhile
Although Jurgen Klopp is known as being a caring manager, it's also clear that he expects 100% from his team at all times. I've read interviews from players who have said that if he suspects you aren't pulling your weight on the field, you are in for some pain in training the following week.
This has shown when they play - the intensity on the pitch, especially when they are off the ball, does not let up and often is the reason that the opposition slips up. The pressure of a Liverpool press becomes unbearable - but that's only if every player keeps their work rate up.
I think how this applies to us is fairly obvious!
5) Your Greatest Asset is Your Brain
Yes, the team is talented and yes, they work hard, but you can say that about pretty much every team in this particular league. What has really separated Liverpool is the way they use data and analysis to take them over the top. This is ultimately how Klopp leads the team with a great strategy - using the insights the smart guys on staff give him.
There will always be someone with a physical lead on you. Some might be stronger, or richer, or more beautiful (or some demonic combination of all three), but if you've got the smarts, you'll always be able to compete.
6) Failure isn't the End
I think this last point for me is the biggest lesson from this squad. After Liverpool lost 3-0 to Barcelona in the first semi-final game in the Champions League, which meant that they would have to score FOUR goals against possibly the greatest team of all time, Klopp walked into the changing room and said "Well...at least we know that we aren't the best team in the world."
Liverpool went on to shock the world by scoring those four goals, and going on to win the Champions League.
Or how about last season's Premier League campaign? Liverpool scored the highest amount of points of any team ever...except for Manchester City, who in that same season break the record even harder. Imagine how that must feel...I mean, I'd be asking "What the hell more can we do?"
But for this team, coming second just meant that they had a chance to train harder and play better, and that's exactly what they did.
For us, and especially in this poo sandwich of year, it's good for us to remember that the setbacks we've been given this year is not permanent. Maybe with some hard work, patience, good attitudes and long-term perspectives, we might actually do more than just survive. We might thrive.
And remember, if you walk with hope in your heart, You'll Never Walk Alone.