It was, ironically enough, Rick Pitino who made the phrase "microwave society" buzzworthy a few years back.
"Everybody wants it now," Pitino said when addressing the media after a loss in December, 2006. "We are very much a microwave society. People don't want to wait. Well, sometimes that's too bad because you have no choice but to wait."
Pitino continued to use the two words liberally in subsequent seasons, especially when his team would experience unexpected setbacks during the opening few weeks. Even now, the phrase is a staple of any Rick Pitino "press conference bingo" or Rick Pitino "press conference drinking game" you and your friends might play from home (or just you alone, don't feel bad about that).
When Pitino first began talking about the current state of the "need it now" society, he was referring to success in that particular season. The advent and rise of social media tools like Twitter have made the proverbial microwave even hotter. Wanting it now no longer refers to the season in question, it refers to the literal instant the demand is being made.
If a quarterback who is coming off three tremendous games in a row has a couple of bad series on a particular afternoon, he's terrible and he needs to be replaced by the guy on the bench who undoubtedly would have already thrown for five touchdowns. If a quirky rule goes against a team in a seemingly harmless way, it's the worst rule of all-time and the official who enforced it needs to be fired. Coaches go from conquering heroes to brainless villains in three days, players make the same metamorphosis in even less time. When something happens which gives rise to an emotion inside us, we react to it in a certain direction and we do so 100 percent of the way.
This all leads me to the current situation of the Louisville basketball scandal and the resulting debate that has become the future of the program's most recognizable figure.
The cries have been made by experts and fans both locally and nationally that the Hall of Fame coach needs to either resign or be fired. The retaliatory fire of "Pitino must stay" has been equally fervent and robust.
My question is, at the present time, why are these the only two options? And to take it a step further, why are we being forced to cast our vote for one of these absolutes right now?
We've heard a lot from the "Breaking Cardinal Rules" team, both in print and on television/radio in recent weeks. We've heard a few reports of partial corroboration from anonymous former players and recruits. What we haven't heard, really, is anything from either UofL or from the NCAA investigation (outside of the CBS report stating former Cardinal recruit Jaquan Lyle had confirmed "the gist of the allegations" regarding his section in the book).
We are essentially in the early 2nd quarter of this lengthy ordeal, and everyone seems to feel the need to predict not just which side is going to win, but exactly how that win is going to happen. If you've ever followed a "this game's over" person on Twitter, then you're well aware that this plan of action has a tendency to backfire.
Pitino has already said that he has no plans to step down, and athletic director Tom Jurich has reiterated multiple times that he is firmly in his head coach's corner. All the talk about what should be done is meaningless at this point. Rick Pitino is going to be Louisville's head basketball coach for the 2015-16 season.
Much to the chagrin of the microwave society (or whatever the next step up from that is), this is going to be a lengthy process. There will be a black cloud hovering over the KFC Yum! Center throughout this season that fluctuates in size depending on the day. A story will pop up here and there, maybe it's bad, maybe it's good, but there will be no massive conclusion at any point in the next five months. That means, if you're a Louisville fan, it's time to get behind this group of players who had nothing do with any of this and help them have the season they deserve.
A former UofL hoops employee recently told me, "Nothing that any of these people are saying matters at all. The investigation is going to play out, and all anyone can do is let that happen. That's the only thing that matters. But I guess everybody feels the need to say something."
I suppose this post makes me a member of that club. Blame society.
A version of this column appears in the current issue of The Voice-Tribune