Last night I had the chance to attend a football game for our neighborhood high school. Sitting in that stadium, freezing my butt off, brought back a lot of memories. I watched with a bit of ah as 20+ girls chanted and cheered in unison while their team took an overtime victory. I mean seriously, have you ever tried to organize a group of people to do anything, let alone stand in straight lines, say the same words and execute physical movements in harmony?
In elementary school I so wanted to wear the uniform and cheer on my team. I vividly remember a conversation with my neighborhood playmate as we entered junior high. “B” and I had spend many hours and long summer days climbing trees, exploring the surrounding woods, picking blackberries, talking about life. I was trying out for the cheer team, she was starting a before school bible study. She had no interest in being liked or being friends with most: things I expressed as hopes for my future.
As I watched windows being smashed in my country’s capital city last winter, I was frustrated that the local news shows kept showing citizens’ anger and disappointment over an elected official. I was sad that the bigger cities were getting the press and the smaller communities that might be celebrating were rarely shown. Where was the spirit of celebrating our wins, and being good losers that I had grown up with? I was seeing a lot of poor sportsmanship.
‘We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.’ It’s a good thought, right? However, as we saw in January 2017, the pursuit of solidarity can be difficult to put into action when emotions run high. I still believe the words I learned to recite back at Thorndyke Elementary: “…one nation under God, indivisible…”
I know that as the teams walked off the field last night, (well one actually running, jumping, screaming, with helmets high in the air and the other team quiet, shoulders slightly slumped) overtime could have easily swung the other way, switching the victor.
This morning, as they headed back to classrooms, the expectation is for both schools to represent well: be good winners and be good losers.
Today, I hope those that have opposing opinions will accept that while we might not sway a mindset, we can listen to each other and always remember we have the right to cheer on our own team.
Oh, and, GO BULLDOGS!