Blackwell Commentary: Please wait...

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By Mike Blackwell, Inside Texas Editor
Posted Dec 18, 2013
Copyright © 2018

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Texas Men's AD Steve Patterson. (Courtesy)

You don't like to wait, do you? After all, "wait" is a four-letter word. It's a negative, difficult, frustrating, agonizing word that a lot of people hate. I don't want to wait on the light to turn green, I don't want to wait on the phone, I don't want to wait on my daughters to get ready so we can go, I don't want to wait for my coffee, I don't want to have to wait for lunch, and when I'm at lunch the only thing I can think of is, 'When is my food going to get here?' I don't have time to wait.

Yet as much as I hate to wait, the Mack Brown exit drama has proven one thing: the world as a whole - and certainly the world of big-time college football - would greatly benefit from having a better appreciation of the word that drives us all crazy.

One definition of 'wait' is particularly interesting to read: stay where one is or delay action until a particular time or until something else happens.

In other words, slow down, breathe and…wait until something else happens.

Reporters from multiple media outlets - including this one - aren't accustomed to waiting, and so they don't. At the risk of sounding like the dinosaur that I am, when I studied journalism at the University of Texas some 30 years ago, the emphasis was always heavily slanted toward getting it 'right' rather than getting it first. That slant was altered long, long ago.

But those who complain about modern "reporting" should realize that everyone - not just reporters - would benefit by embracing the virtues of "wait."

Who should wait?

Well, certainly reporters would be more accurate in their stories by waiting before breathlessly spewing - often in 140 characters or less - the latest 'intel' they have uncovered. Sources are always high-level and unnamed - always. People who are 'close to the program' are never named - never. But since there is no accountability with reporting any more - when's the last time a writer was axed or even punished, for an inaccurate report? - reporters don't have to bog themselves down with those cumbersome 'facts.' In fact, all reporters have to do to cover themselves is say, "this situation is fluid, and could change." 

Still, at the risk of sounding like the curmudgeon I truly am, it would be nice if 'right' could jump ahead of 'fast' at the top of the pecking order, but that's not going to happen.

Recruits should certainly at least consider waiting as long as possible before committing to a school. And considering that UT hasn’t named a Brown replacement yet, Texas fans are hoping recruits will wait until the Longhorns have a new coach in place before making their decisions. Granted, recruits and their parents and coaches grow weary of the constant harassment that comes with big-time recruiting, but waiting allows all involved to give a more thorough and thoughtful consideration before making what will be a life-changing decision. Thorough and thoughtful…imagine that.

Should fans learn to embrace the calming attributes of waiting? Yes, but like with reporters, that's not likely going to happen. I am a fan, too, and I have wanted to make some drastic personnel changes, often in the middle of a game, many times in the middle of a drive, and sometimes in the middle of a play from scrimmage.  'Fire 'em all at halftime!' the message boards rage. 'Fire him before he gets on the plane!' 'Don't let him on the bus!' The truth is, we fans only know what we see on the fields of play, and that's not enough knowledge for us to clamor for someone's dismissal before they get on the plane to fly back to Austin. Waiting would also allow us to enjoy the season more without the constant sense of 'now' that pervades everyone and everything. It's healthier to wait.

Most importantly, I hope the new athletic director, Steve Patterson, is a man who is courageous enough to wait awhile before hiring a new football coach. Hiring a football coach will be the most important thing Patterson will do, and even though reporters and fans insist that the job be filled as soon as possible in case some recruits are wavering, hopefully he will be deliberate and - again - thorough in his search.

And hopefully Patterson will also take the same stance in his coaching search that my great-grandmother took when she was cooking food: she always said the quality of the meal is usually determined by how long everybody has to wait to eat. In other words, if they have to wait, the meal is going to be real good.

Ditto the UT football coaching search. 

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