I am at a NJ Devils game, wearing my team colors as always and sitting with my daughter on one side, but surrounded by fans. Most wearing Jersey’s, t-shirts etc. for the Devils and cheering every good play. The Devils light the lamp (hockey terminology for scoring) everyone screams, and starts giving high fives to the people they came with, then they start doing the same to anyone standing and cheering. A bond is immediately created as we are all rooting for the same team, and with that one thing in common for the 2+ hours the game is going we have new friends.
Another simple example of this, while out shopping for my daughter I notice people were dressed in NJ Devils gear. I asked if they were going to the game tonight, they were. We chatted for a it and then it was “go devils” and we both continued our shopping mission. Again, a simple one thing in common linked by what we were wearing. For those moments we never asked about anything other than our fandom.
But looking back at both incidents I wondered if people knew more about you in an instant would that instant bond work. For example If i was wearing a NJ Devils Jersey and a St Louis Ram hat would either situation be different. Most of the people in the NY/NJ area are fans of say the Giants or the Jets, would the person who sees that suddenly not think we are on the same page due to different “likes.” Say if I wore a political t-shirt instead? What if I wore a Qanon Hat with my Devils shirt. What if I wore a PETA hat with my Devils shirt? Would the person next to me at the game give me a high five? Would the person talk to me while I was shopping.
This thought piggy backs on studies that have been seeing how compassionate people are, or helping someone out. Basically if you thinking about your “football team” and saw someone hurt with another jersey you didn’t help, if you were thinking about the sport football in general, you did help. Aka if your mindset is on something in common you were more compassionate then if not. So what if the signals are mixed. Are you going to high five someone a few days after the election if your candidate lost? And why is it so polarizing, why do we think that we lose ourselves by being friends with someone who has opposing political views.
I wish I could do a study, but I can honestly believe that if I did, I would start a lot of fights. Some how we now believe that people who think differently politically then we do are now ripping at out souls. Worse than any sport rivalry, and worse than Hatfield and McCoys. And I was part of it. There was a time I felt that pressure, to not only push my ideas on others, but if they didn’t agree they were not worth my time.
I am not sure what change, I often think about it and wonder. The first memory of this “world is over” was when Regan won the presidency. Led by MTV and younger opinions that our world would be led into a Nuclear war. Looking back that didn’t happen, it was actually the reverse. Next when Obama was elected there was this push we would all end up in socialism. Strange, did we? Nope. That is not to say either president was perfect and all their policies were wonderful. It was the fear mongering that was worse. The notion that we were not being led by exceptional ideas, but by fear if the other guy won. I once told my dad, that when the vote went to balance the power with the president being democrat and the congress republican I thought Americans got it right. We somehow find ways to mitigate the risk of the far left or the far right from control.
But, now how do we manage to get the fanaticism that we are all humans, have many of the same problems and want the same future (safe, happy, filled with optimism, security) to high five each other as those goals are reached vs. the animosity of the process to get there. I know there is very little agreement on the what we do, and now the how is also questioned, but maybe we need to find ways to try some solutions in smaller areas and learn from failures. The same study that showed fandom leads to helping others that are in your group, that instead of seeing someone with an opposing Jersey the enemy, not a fan of the same football team you are, you see them as a fan of football. We may have many subdivides, but at we all wear one Jersey.
This opinion is mine, and mine only, my current or former employers have nothing to do with it. I do not write for any financial gain, I do not take advertising and any product company listed was not done for payment. But if you do like what I write you can donate to the charity I support (with my wife who passed away in 2017) Morgan Stanley’s Children’s Hospital or donate to your favorite charity. I pay to host my site out of my own pocket, my intention is to keep it free. I do read all feedback, I mostly wont post any of them
This Blog is a labor of love, and was originally going to be a book. With the advent of being able to publish yourself on the web I chose this path. I will write many of these and not worry too much about grammar or spelling (I will try to come back later and fix it) but focus on content. I apologize in advance for my ADD as often topics may flip. I hope one day to turn this into a book and or a podcast, but for now it will remain a blog.