I know, I know, college sports (or professional sports, for that matter) isn't everyone's joy, but it has been eight long months since I got to watch my Wolfpack boys hit the field. And amazingly, we have 8 of our 12 games at home, which means I get to see a lot of my dear Carter-Finley Stadium, even if it is just on TV. So needless to say, I've been much looking forward to the start of this season, a new coach, and hopefully a new era for the Red and White.
taken last year when our basketball team made it to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA
But here's something I've been thinking a lot about today, something I think most of us have trouble remembering during sports season. Every time your team plays, there's another team that plays, too. And that team has just as faithful of fans as your team does. So every time you boast about your team and your team's fans, there are opponent fans who read it and see it. And a lot of the time, those "opponent fans" were people you were close to before the game. Sports may not be a big deal, but team devotion can bring out the worst in people. I would know; I've said things about other teams and their fans "in the spirit of being a Wolfpack lover" that I would never dream of saying to people outside of that situation.
Same goes for politics. In fact, I got a really good lesson in this just today when I responded to a comment someone had made on Twitter about President Obama. I said something they took as snarky, so they said something snarky in return. And because I wasn't used to that kind of tone from this person, it left me wondering if I had just screwed up a friendship that means so much to me. We talked it out later, and when I found out the way they had seen it, I apologized, and thankfully, this person knows me well enough that they wrote back that it was okay because "I know you didn't mean anything by it."
I got lucky that time. Lucky that that happened with someone who knows my heart very well, well enough to see beyond the times when I inevitably say something wrong. But I've seen a lot of friendships, and been a part of several of them, be irreparably damaged over things like sports rivalries and opposing political opinions. And for some reason, all of this today has made me think back to what I said last year before the election, on Twitter where almost all of my followers and I strongly disagree on just about everything political - especially who should have been elected President.
At the end of the day, I like my friends more than I like politics.
— Mallory Jones (@_callmemal) October 4, 2012
I will always, ALWAYS pick my friends and my relationships over politics or sports or any other ultimately trivial hobby, and anybody who knows me knows how much I love both. But politics doesn't listen to me cry on the phone at midnight. Sports doesn't text me everyday when I'm in the hospital to make sure I'm okay. People do. I don't mean to sound preachy; I'm saying this to myself as much as anyone else, especially after what happened this afternoon. Hopefully, this lesson will stick with me and I can do better next time.
Your passion about a subject should never be more important than people & relationships or keep you from apologizing when you cross a line.
— Mallory Jones (@_callmemal) August 31, 2013
When I sat down to write this post, the quote "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." At first, I couldn't decide where it was from, the Bible or Shakespeare (I know, right?! Weird) but Google told me that it is indeed from the Bible. Proverbs 16:18 And that pretty much confirmed for me that I needed to write this tonight.
Happy football season, y'all. Try to remember that you loved these people before the season, and be careful to make sure you still love them after.