It’s funny. I’ve been writing this column for four years and this is the strongest reaction I’ve gotten. This will be episode two I suppose.
My love of sports comes from a love of playing them. My love of playing sports comes from a yearning to connect and collaborate with like minded people. It’s in all of us, we are herd animals after all.
But much like human connection, my participation in sports has faded to an aimless yearning to vicariously capture some lost memory. I just do what is expected of me. Until yesterday, that is. That was decidedly unexpected.
If I’m being completely honest with you, (and at this point, let’s accept that I am) I don’t completely remember what sparked my lashing out via keyboard. Probably boredom, and possibly something much deeper. I will leave that to be excavated by my shrink. (Shut up, I’m an editorial journalist. Of course I have a shrink.)
I can tell you I am glad I wrote that piece. It has been so enlightening to me as a human being. Definitely worth the diatribe I was party to this morning, via my boss and our biggest contributing donor.
My favorite question about it so far is “what happened to you to that made you write it?” The more important question is why didn’t I sooner? What happened that makes me or anybody else not want to?
I can tell you. It’s a fear of weakness. I can also tell you that fear is not based in truth.
I sat at my keyboard last night, under the influence of mixed drugs and pent up emotions, and I spilled everything. I shouted from a proverbial mountaintop every little flaw that used to be my best kept secret. Now I feel like I could move that mountain. Instead of the 10 or so close friends I had, I have 20,000.
You guys know every secret I could possibly tell you. So, now, I am free. We live in a world that is so afraid of any emotion or openness that we go straight to pretending Angry Birds is an important e-mail EVERY time the conversation gets heavy.
Stop it. Say hey to the person in the elevator, even if it’s going up just two floors. Go outside, just because. Tell somebody you love them, and mean it. We have such a short time on this earth. I submit to you that we must, above all, be human. Be human especially more than being perfect. Because you will never be perfect, but you can very easily lose your humanity.
Sports can be seen as a metaphor for society. We see the players on the field, and that’s what they are. The pitcher is a professional baseball player, and once he leaves the field, he does also our minds. But he has a family that he goes home to, and a dying relative that he is trying to repair a relationship with, and a dog with three legs that he loves more than the world.
Society exists as a function, and it is important. It keeps us alive and safe (or makes a good effort). But don’t forget why we’re here. Taking that leap of connecting with real people and making yourself vulnerable has risks. Just like me telling you this has risks, particularly while my boss is punishing me for doing it the first time. But you stand to gain more and better gifts than any safety or fear could ever bear.