Former President, Harry Truman, was once asked how history would remember him. He said he didn’t care because history is lived forwards and written backwards. In other words, it’s easy to write about events after they’ve occurred — harder to predict them ahead of time.
The truth of his wisdom is on regular display. Every economist,for instance, has a retrospective theory on what caused the global financial crisis, but how many predicted it?
Speaking to David Koch prior to my regular Sunrise appearance last week he was expressing concern about Port Adelaide’s poor history against Fremantle in the west. David, as chairman, has led an amazing turnaround by the club.
I mentioned Harry’s quote and it seemed to give him heart. His team, of course, wrote their own piece of history on Saturday night by coming from behind to give themselves a shot at a grand final berth.
It’s appropriate that this happened in WA, from where the Perth Yacht Club launched their campaign to win The Americas Cup in 1983. This, too, was meant to be historically impossible. After all, the US had never lost the Cup.
John Bertrand paid no heed to that. He knew full well that history books (and the sports pages) are littered with tales of how Davids beat Goliaths — particularly when Goliath underestimated David.
In rugby league we have seen a similar story play out with Penrith.
Every week we have convinced ourselves they weren’t genuine contenders. The more players they lost with injury the more convinced we became and the more dedicated they became to proving us wrong.
And they have — big time.
We were, of course, missing the real story. Instead of measuring them in isolation we were comparing them in terms of history and what we believed it took to make the top four… and maybe go further still.
Coach Ivan Cleary has taken a group of players and made them better than they’ve ever been and, in the process, created a team that is perhaps greater than the sum of its parts.
Meantime The Roosters, like Manly, must regroup in a hurry.
For Brisbane and Melbourne, there’s no rush. They’re history.