One year ago, the Premier League was halted for a few weeks with the goal of stopping the spread of the coronavirus (“two weeks to stop the spread” was a phrase used here in the United States).
Some people worked from home, some were laid off, industries shuttered and all-in-all, the world was turned upside down. A year on, more than 2.5 million people have died. A multiple of that figure had lives changed forever though health issues, losses of loved ones, or missing out on huge life events that — in normal times — would have revolved around community and family.
We heard about the late-Sir Tom Moore and his walks through his garden to raise funds for health workers. We learned about messenger RNA and contact tracing. We have witnessed the struggles to govern while fighting the moving target of a global pandemic.
And yet, a 94’ goal from the Newcastle captain, Jamaal Lascelles, makes our blood boil and leads to outrage. But, that is okay and it is normal — and you are reading a meandering blog post on an Aston Villa blog written at 3 am when my newborn daughter won’t sleep — so it is likely fitting.
But perspective is important, probably more important than ever. So let’s get in the way back machine.
Aston Villa should have been relegated last year — and no not because of Hawkeye. The performance of the team before the pandemic break was dreadful. Without the break, Dean Smith doesn’t improve the defense, Douglas Luiz doesn’t grow into the wonderful player we all saw after the break, and Villa don’t pick up the points to sneak above Watford (thanks for firing Nigel Pearson with two matches to go!) and Bournemouth.
Let’s go two years back.
“The sweet sweet moment for Jack Grealish” 2 years ago today, a goal that I truly would not change for ANYTHING! What a day it was ⚽️ #AVFC pic.twitter.com/iqAygX7tVs— Jack Grealish (@JackGrealish) March 10, 2021
"Best day of my life." #OnThisDay in 2019, @JackGrealish scored the winner at St Andrew's! pic.twitter.com/ij0CdOZ8cU— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) March 10, 2021
And three years ago from the 7500 To Holte archives.
In three short years, Aston Villa have had new owners, got promoted, avoided relegation, and got to the 40 point mark before Spring. Chiefly, the club kept Jack Grealish.
That is a remarkable run that would lead some to question whether someone was doing a bit too much saving and loading in Football Manager. We have been able to watch it unfold in front of us and that success ought to be marked and enjoyed.
Too often, the negatives are the focus and that prevents the appreciation of the journey.
Allow yourself a second of perspective and joy of being an Aston Villa fan... before yelling at the TV (and eventually from the stands) and yet another VAR review going against the Villa.