what game are you playing?

Yep, it happened. The post-fact world bled into the post-scandal world, which then crescendoed in an inauguration. Then the earth came alive, voiced the pain of rift, and reminded us that we stand for bigger issues than crowd size. Well, some us do. And that is what saddens me.

I am, in order of passion, a football (of the version European/South American/African/Asian/Russian/Australian) fan, cycling fan, hockey fan, American football fan, and enthusiast of sports in general. During my thirties I became a diehard Colorado Avalanche fan. Still am, though this year has been a challenge to say the least. The Detroit Red Wings, that perennially talented, hard hitting, well coached group of players were the enemies. Evil. Pure evil through and through. I would watch games between my team and their team torn by fear of loss and hope of victory. There was something fun about that tension, which might explain why people even care about sports in the first place.

As I grew older, (thirties are young BTW), I had the pleasure of meeting and befriending a number of Red Wings fans. Regardless of outcome, we could raise a pint to effort and talent and share a passion for something that bound us together, something bigger than we were; the joy of watching hockey and the appreciation of the skill required to play at a level beyond any of our capabilities. And we grew together, as a team, joined by common interest.

I fear we have lost this when it comes to politics and social discourse and concern for our fellow citizens. As I type these words, tears are pushing against the barrier of tact (I am at a local pub). I fear we have decoupled from the interest that drives progress and that we now seek shelter is us versus them dichotomies. I am guilty. I do not like the present climate nor do I care for the 45th president. I fear him and what appears to be his covert attempts to enrich himself and his cohort. And I am sickened by my fear. And that disgust is based in ignorance because I do not know my fellow Americans as I should.

Fear is a powerful and destructive motivator. It stands in the way of sharing common ground. Interferes with dispassionate vision. We become blinded by alternative facts and fake news, which we cling to in an effort to justify our unsteady bearing. Fear drives a wedge between us and them, between passion and reason, between communities dependent on the same infrastructure. Fear drowns the passion for the shared and elevates the stakes of competition. Fear moves winning and losing into the realm of existential threat. Red Wings fans become threats to my very existence.

And yet I am not sure how to remedy the situation. I teach, I write, I read, and I love my family and partner. I discuss and I listen and still I am lost. Maybe that is the path to growth. Uncertainty and seeking. Maybe. But I am sure of this: that I know my fellow humans are important; young, old, left, right. And we must’n forget this. We can’t descent ┬áinto hate. We, as a country have been there, and we know it breeds division. We are better than that. You are better than that.

 

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