What a frustrating game it was the other night. 17 to “ZERO” at the end of the first quarter. Then within seven points at the beginning of the fourth quarter. And then, the implosion. Final score 45 to 24. The Cal Bears destroyed by the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon. The scene was unbelievable. The Duck fans totally immersed in the moment known as a football game. Approximately 3-hours of total mayhem for those of us in the Bears uniforms: players, staff, and fans. And you don’t even have to like football, or sports for that matter, to appreciate the idea behind this blog post today.
The Ducks fans completely “Present” for their team. Loud and annoying, but I could see the heartfelt compassion from the fans to the players.
A community that lives and dies over sports – football, track & field, and more. The home of the historic shoe and apparel company: NIKE. Home of success. A community in its simplest and purest form. People waiting all day in their yellow and green attire. The game not kicking off until 740 pm. My explanation of the scene does not do the atmosphere any justice. It was full of emotion. Super sensory stimulation. Visual, acoustic, and overall sensory overload. You could taste the camaraderie. The ground shaking. Arms waving. People dancing and eating all at the same time.
The Ducks were seeking to avenge a loss just one week earlier to Arizona State, and my Bears trying to do the same after a great battle with USC that was tied 13 to 13 at the end of three quarters. Both teams with new head coaches. Both teams with 3 wins and 1 loss.
It is always tough to win on the road. Even tougher at places like Autzen Stadium. Filled with a community of believers. From the the beginning these folks were determined to help their team win. They refused to back down. Almost like those at the Alamo. Nearly every fan stayed in his or her seat until the very end. I wish you could have been there with me. And as I said earlier, even if you dislike football, or sports in general. Even if you are an introvert and would rather eat mud then be in a crowd with people you don’t know.
This was an example of a community, and community is often something that many of us yearn for because we don’t have one in which we belong. Some of us don’t feel connected.
This is yet another example of how sports can build bridges vice break them down.
Go out and find a community to belong to. Whether it means starting a conversation with your neighbors that you have never met, joining a new church, signing up to play in a weekend sports league, or anything that allows you to join in fellowship with other human beings. It is powerful in more ways than you can imagine. And who knows, you may see your own community grow in incredible ways.