We All Fall Down

It’s easy to fall down. Last week I fell down the stairs and I’m a relatively young man who wasn’t under the influence in any way. I said ‘Good night’ to my son, took a few safe steps, then slipped onto my back and went sliding down the stairs until I crashed into the safety gate at the bottom.

I won’t lie: it hurt. Both my pride and my body. No serious injuries, just a grazed elbow or two, but I shouted out in pain/surprise and lapped up the thin shreds of sympathy that came between the spurts of laughter from my wife. It’s important not to dwell on these things, but now, whenever I’m at the top of the stairs, I can’t help but think about that moment.

I used to think I was pretty good at going up and down stairs. An expert even. It was something I’d done so many times before without a glitch. Until I got complacent. I’d convinced myself it was my right to walk up and down the stairs without concentrating. I look back now and cringe: Who had I become?

When something like that dents your confidence, a little soul-searching is only natural. I started second-guessing myself: Was I going to fast? Were my socks too slippery? Maybe the stairs are broken? Am I a reckless person? Is it safe for me to keep living in a multi-storey house? But fortunately I had a support network to remind me that people fall down all the time. Even the greats. What matters isn’t the falling or the hitting the ground, what matters is that you learn from the experience and then pick yourself back up again. That’s what defines who you become and what you are capable of in the future.

The Warriors have fallen down many times this season. Often in spectacular fashion. They deserve huge credit for the way they’ve always been able to bounce back. But when you fall over so many times, eventually the bruises compound, the cuts take longer to heal and, perhaps worst of all, the mental scarring becomes harder to ignore. And then you start to wonder: Are we learning anything at all from our mistakes?

SET OF SIX

1) We’ve seen this movie before. In 2015, the Warriors lost eight straight games to finish the season. In 2016, it was four losses in a row. Then, in 2017, they made it nine. History has had a horrible way of repeating itself recently in Warrior Nation, and while I’m not suggesting it will happen again, it’s absolutely crucial that the men from Mt Smart have learned from their mistakes — both from the mistakes of previous seasons and from the heavy defeats in 2018. If not, there’s a chance the remaining five rounds could turn into a horror show.

2) We’re in 8th spot. For all the doom and gloom that followed the second-half capitulation against the Titans, the Warriors remain nestled comfortably in the playoffs, four points up on the chasing pack. With the wider-than-usual gap between the top 8 and bottom 8 at the moment, it might only take one or two wins to break that playoff drought. The up-and-down form is a huge concern, but let’s not forget the growth the club has made in 2018.

3) Play like their lives depend on it. The set of six ends at three today. The Warriors only showed up for one half of football against the Titans, so I’ll take the opportunity to do the same, but not before saying that the men from Mt Smart need to approach their remaining games as if it were their last. When the Warriors have been engaged and enthusiastic in 2018, they’ve looked capable of beating anyone. When they’ve dropped those energy levels even slightly, they’ve looked more like contenders for the wooden spoon. It’s been that simple, and now that we’re at the business end of the season, there should be no reason not to have the foot flat to the floor and give this competition absolutely everything they’ve got.

FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

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