The down-to-the-second modern news cycle, fueled by a number of factors and facilitated by tools like Twitter, has given us all wonderful access to information.
But it has also, unfortunately, had a consequence: it has caused us, as sports fans, to unfortunately lose perspective and in some cases lose our minds.
Nuance has been eradicated from seasons, replaced by a barrage of yo-yoing "hot takes" that indicate Team X or Player X is the greatest/worst in the world. In a rush to judgment, this causes many of us to write off a team as "finished" or at least incompetent at precisely the time the team turns its season around. Then as we all buy into the greatness, the team inevitably starts to slump.
Uneven play is a natural thing in a season or even throughout the course of a single game, of course. But within the modern news cycle — including all that information and access to all those opinions — we're seeing all trees and very little forest.
I've watched it happen a few times recently with our local teams — and, in fact, been guilty of it myself in many of these cases.
The most notable example is the Twins. Baseball is the ultimate team sports marathon, a six-month slog that is now digested in 162 separate 100-meter dashes. The Twins were left for dead and revived so many times this season that they earned a reputation as being "resilient."
They were, to a degree, but more so they were a team doing what teams do: falling apart and picking themselves back up again, then repeating. When you have 162 games, this should happen.
The Vikings experienced a jolt of this at the start of the season, when all it took was one bad game for everyone to question all of the positive things that were believed about the team going into the season. One win turned around a lot of those skeptics; another win brought almost everyone back on board. (Again, I did the same thing.)
Twitter would have had you believe the Wild's season was over two periods into the thing, then had you believe the Wild was the greatest team ever just a period later.
But the best fresh example is the Gophers football team, which duped us all into thinking it was a lifeless group on the verge of falling apart in Jerry Kill's fifth season at the helm. First downs were treated like small miracles and some predicted a blowout loss at Purdue of all places.
Instead, of course, the Gophers trucked Purdue 41-13 on Saturday. They have had a game like this in them all along, of course; few of us were patient enough to wait for it and anticipate it.
Let's try to remember all this the next time we are inclined to extrapolate a small sample size and make it the whole narrative.