Thirty Three: Sports and Neighbors

“Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.”  – William Arthur Ward

I am not a sports nut, not even really a fan, but when my city’s home team makes it to the play-offs I will rant like the rest of the crowd and call out the refs as if I knew better. Why? Because I see the value in connecting through sports.

I don’t think in the 12 years that I’ve known my husband that I’ve ever seen him screen a game. (And I love that. It feels convenient to hop on the bandwagon when a team is doing well, but I would never have the patience to follow a sports team closely throughout an entire season.) Our neighbors were getting together to watch the Super Bowl, so I took my son over to the festivities. A few minutes later, the other half of my family was sitting in the back. Yes! This party was on.

It never ceases to amaze me what energy can come from a group united by something external to themselves. I have lived alongside these people for the last couple years; we’ve had monthly meetings, retreats, play dates, work parties, you name it. But there is something freeing when your Self is not the focus of discussion. It’s kind of like what happens in the sauna; we don’t have to look at one another or confront one another. It’s us against all those other misguided fans of the other team.

Y’all know what happened with the Broncos-Seahawks game. Yep, we won. The kids and I heard a few fireworks go off before I put them to bed, but otherwise the post-triumph brouhaha was fairly civil. People gathered in the middle of a centrally located intersection to whoop it up for 20 seconds and then they went to their corners again. How very Seattle.

The intriguing adult conversation we’ve been having in our household is how odd and malleable public opinion is. Richard Sherman was getting slagged left and right just over a week ago, but he turned that on its side and is now a hero. We’ll see how Seattle hip hop artist Macklemore (who livened up halftime at the Seahawks’ last NFC championship game) will weather criticism that he is not the best spokesperson for gay rights, or that his multiple Grammy wins are evidence of the white privilege he sings about. Fame is a tumbler where everyone’s biases, opinions, fears, and hopes for what they want you to be could easily crush a light-hearted person down. Some rise above to endure.

Does the life of an actor or sports celebrity affect how you view his or her work?


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