The Breaking Point.
If you play team sports, or even just watch them, there’s very often a moment in the struggle between the opposing teams, when one of them breaks. Sometimes it’s sparked by a single incident but more usually, it’s an acceptance by the whole group that they’re going to lose. The opposition are simply too good. It’s a moment of gestalt realisation, not so much them giving up but more like them accepting that they’re going to lose. It’s subtle, synchronised and solid as a concrete block hitting you right between the eyes. When it occurs, no team bounces back from it. If you’ve got any doubts it’s happening, just watch the in-game betting odds go astronomical on the internet.
How a team reacts to it, tells you a lot about them.
If they’re a solid team, though they may have been beaten and are taking the punishment, watch out – it’ll just make them stronger next season. It’s a severe and painfully public lesson and they’ll cauterise the wound and start to use it as a motivator for next year. It’s the ones who fought all the way down to the final whistle, when they were getting a complete thrashing, you’ve really got to worry about the next time around. Those sort of teams will come back at you even harder.
They have a club ethos and it’s a true sportsman’s pleasure to shake their hands at the end of the game, but there’s an instant in that handshake, a pause, a little sneaking direct moment when their eyes tell you they’ll be coming after you with everything they’ve got next year. You recognise that look, because you’ve been there. These guys are going to be in your face with a tomahawk next season. It’s a great thing and you’ll be there waiting for them. Brothers. The old order changeth.
This year’s losers and next year’s champions do one thing very well, smouldering silence. Last year’s pain powers the whole damn team. Home or away, they are going to be a tough gig.
There’s the other side of the coin though; the crap team. They’re crap because you can see their essential heart as the defeat happens. They’re losers and you can see that as the whole disaster unfolds.
You hit them hard and they just folded. There’s even a sense of how dare you about the whole thing. They’re no longer going forward and instead fall back to the defensive. The offense backpedals and the defense digs in. It’s now all about limiting the final scoreline. From there, it’s all downhill. Ugly fouls start increasing and displays of childish petulance start occurring. Team discipline is disintegrating.
Whatever unit cohesion they once had is now gone. They’re no longer working together. People are just running in circles. They even start to fight each other. The blame game kicks off, even before the game itself has finished. It’s all your fault. No, it ain’t, it’s your’s. I always said, we should never play this formation. Sorry, when’d you say that? Piss off. Who the fuck are you anyway?
They start throwing each other to the wolves before they’ve even got off the pitch. All composure has been lost and there’s not a shred of dignity to the thing. Even as a winner, it leaves a bad taste.
Since the turn of the year, I get a definite sense that us climate guerillas are up against a team who know they’re going to lose. It’s an intuition but a strong one. All the signs are there. They’re like a bad losing team and you can see the former supporters distancing themselves or just plain outright bailing in realtime. It’s as if they don’t want to be the last girl to leave the party, so there’s a quiet but indecently increasing stampede for the exit doors. Even the bemused old geezers like Lovelock know which way the flatulence is blowing. No smoking please.
People are edging towards the exit.
The worst and most humiliating indicator of that change is the tenor of the skeptic blogs. There’s been a subtle shift. Instead of doing the usual mentat deconstruction of climate papers, they’re doing humour. There’s nothing much left to hit so they’re having a bit of fun. They’re relaxing, having a larf really. Finally, it’s rest and relaxation time. As R&R goes, they have very definitely earned that, after so many years of brutal effort assaulting each of those islands, one after another. They’re veterans, who’ve taken too many places like Peleliu and Okinawa and have a growing sense of the end of the war.
Sure, it’ll drag on but we own them. At this stage in the game, we’re just running down the clock.
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