Who are you rooting for?

There’s a scene in my favorite book ever Stargirl, in which the main character becomes a cheerleader at her high school, and her classmates get mad at her when she runs to comfort a player on the other team. The narrator is so shocked that she would cross “enemy lines” that he shuns her. But all she could see was someone who was hurt, who needed help. 

Cue me being at a rugby game this weekend. Where men upon men grapple, tousle, grab, fight, jump, push, shove, sprint, and generally knock heads to get the ball. There are plenty of hurt arms, legs, and heads, but no hurt feelings in sight. 

A little boy and his mother ride over on their bikes and watch the game closely from the sidelines, not too far from me. The little boy comments, “this looks like football” to which the mom agrees. (Which was a fairly astute observation made by a little boy). 

After sitting in silence for a few moments, he finally asks his mom: “who are we rooting for?”

And I hold my breath, hoping the mom won’t answer at all. Because wouldn’t that be nice? Wouldnt that be great? If the little boy didn’t have to watch the game disliking one team just because his mom said so? That he could see that each side had people to root for and that’s good enough? 

The mom did answer, but the irony was that it was an alumni game. The alumni against the current students. So technically, it was all for fun. There really was no rivalry. And yet, for that little boy, it was made so. 

I think we need to spend more time thinking about how similar we are than how we are different. Because dividing lines can do just that: divide. And in the end, we should all be rooting for each other, no matter what team we’re on. 

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Don’t worry, I’m not talking about the holiday season.

I’m talking about hockey season.

It’s starts tonight, and I, for one, could not be happier. I will be frank (although my name is Bailey), and admit that I hate football. Every fall, I count down the Sundays watching play after play (in which they fruitlessly run it up the middle) just waiting for hockey to start. And now it has.

There is something so much cooler about hockey (although it has nothing to do with the fact that it is played on ice). For one, there’s more danger. I mean, they literally have knives strapped to their feet.  And you should try to avoid the bladeless scythes they carry around. But if you are not bludgeoned by these instruments of torture, then you can be sure that someone from the opposing team will make sure you get very intimate with the boards by checking you into them. That is, of course, if you don’t throw down with someone first. What other sport tolerates a few fisticuffs? You know, besides the obvious choices, like boxing.

And if that doesn’t get you excited, well then. I’m not really sure what would get you excited. Blood, sweat, and ice makes for an interesting show, any day. But if you really need some convincing, you should know that hockey also does not stop for anything. Sure, if someone gets swiped in the throat by the knives on another player’s foot… they get out a band-aid, slap it on, and keep going. None of that ridiculous tomfoolery we saw in every game during the World Cup this year. (Wahhh, he stepped on my shoelace, and I stumbled a bit.) They play hard, and they play through the pain. I have literally seen guys pulled off the ice because they were bleeding but did not show any signs of going to the bench.

And if you really, really aren’t convinced, you should know that hockey jerseys are about the warmest gear in all of sports, which means you can wear them all winter. That’s great for little people like me who shiver like Chihuahuas during this season.

In the end, hockey is not for the faint of heart (nor for anyone who wants to keep all of their teeth), but it is certainly for anyone who wants to be entertained. Whether you are rooting for the players or for the next fight, there is something for everyone. Well, anyone who enjoys a little violence with their athletics, I suppose. Just cuddle up in your jersey, and boo anyone who has to go to the penalty box on your team. You’ll fit right in.