After almost two decades of being a legendary personality in football, Sir Alex Ferguson retired in glory. From how media around the world celebrate his life achievement, we have witnessed how he is really someone in this world of football, and for some people, even beyond the football field.
What are we in this world? Some question, isn’t it?
Some of you may say that this is a question of existence, and for the record, it is a frequent cliché. I beg to differ, though. It is a cliché, until the 90’s, perhaps. But not today. This is a question a meaning, of value; not merely about existence.
These days, it is easy to express our existence. There are so many technologies, media, and opportunities for everyone to easily making statement to the world about their existence. It is all because showing existence is cheap today. In the good old days, there were no social media, blogs or YouTube. There were no talent competition or reality shows. In those days, you have to clearly prove to the world and get the acknowledgement that you are really something.
Today, someone can easily upload his or her own video on YouTube, and hopes that luck will bring popularity and open the path to become celebrity. This kind of access to expose ourselves to the world is unprecedented. There are many talent competitions or auditions these days, as well as sports schools, where people can try to ‘sell’ their talents in front of big names in the industry or sports world. In the past, someone has to build his or her own path for years before getting a chance to perform abilities in from of these influential personalities.
Fergie becomes legendary not for his popularity in the media or popular buzz, but for his consistently valuable contribution in his career. His time as a football player was not legendary. Fergie was not Lionel Messi of his time. He was not celebrated as a part of pop culture icon like David Beckham. His achievement as a football player was not celebrated by the media. He was not a product of a fast-track industry of creating pop icon.
His achievement as football coach and manager was also built upon years of self-determination and firm decisions, albeit is unpopular in the view of the fans. His ‘accident’ with Beckham was one example of that. His early days as professional coach was not so ‘special’, if we compare to Jose Mourinho’s self-claim on his stubborn style as ‘the Special One’. He was not someone who had built his career on popular controversies.
Instead, he was known for his loyalty to his club, his good sense in growing young talents, and his consistency and disciplines. And after years, these conventional approaches has turn him into the legend he is now. And it is even more interesting to see that he picked David Moyes, someone who grown through years of consistency and disciplines instead of popularity and controversy, as his successor.
Today, when all the access are easily provided, it is cheaper to try to be something, isn’t it? It is easier to try to show what we can do. It is easier to try to claim on how potentially talented we are in something. And yet, more people are trying to be a fast-track legend, and less are trying to build their career upon consistency and perseverance.
It seems that even though it is cheaper now to try to be something, it is even more expensive to really become one.