Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sports Tribalism

I have pondered quite a bit about the phenonmenon of sports tribalism. We belong to particular categories each of us. Some of us are Democrats, some Republicans. Some are fans are particular groups of musicians or even genres. Whenever we find someone else in the same particular category, we have an instant connection, a tribe of music genre enthusiasts. In sports, it is particularly evident. Cubs fans, Yankees fans, Packers fans, Bears fans, oh my... Anyway, we very much identify with a particular team, those of us who are devoted sports fans. I am one of those. I can live and die with a team (the Cubs). Those who surround me know that. There's even a tendency for those of us who are fans of a particular team to use the term "we" in connection with the actual performing team. We are connected to their success or lack thereof. We use it to taunt and jeer at opponents' fans; they are a part of another tribe. We cannot allow them to see success without us seeing defeat. It's nationalism at a different level. It's a whole new ballgame when a nation's teams are in competition with one another. But, at the level I speak of, it's a relatively innocent nationalism. You rarely see wars fought over the score of the Cubs-White Sox series (maybe embattled egos, family splits, but rarely bloodshed). The Red Sox-Yankees series has come close though. It's a battle for pride, spirit, and stronger identity. Speaking as a Cubs fan, I can't see myself as anything else in baseball. I identify myself with the struggles of my team and with other Cubs fans as we see the team try to overcome the curse of 101-year World Series championship drought. Ok, but enough rambling. It's a fun topic to talk about, but I'm on a break at Starbucks and it's time I use my time for something else more constructive.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


How much are we based on genetics and environmental influences? Quite a bit perhaps, but not all the way.
Where do the images in our head that have no equal in the sensory perception world? Where do they come from (i.e. fantasies)? How do we create them? Perhaps in this latter question, we just base our fantasy or image upon a similar image that we know, but it still means we created an immaterial existence from what? Neurological pathways?

Where does an idea come from? Original to one's self? New to the rest of the world. It's an immaterial thought, is it proven by empiricism? Historical fact? An idea obviously can evolve as itself. It's truth can be debated and not necessarily on the terms of whether or not it really happened. We live in a society that says that the only way something is true is if it is proven to be true based on evidence. What happened to the goods of morality and ethics based on idealogies and logic? What happened on what it meant to be human as a soul and not just as a body? What happened to the soul? What happened to the idea that Truth itself is something that cannot be completely comprehended, contained? Truth itself does not need to be proven to have happened. It needs to make sense to what it means to be the very basic of human. It gives us meaning. For there to be no Truth, means there is little basis for the existence of anything. That is why most humans agree on several fundamental truths (i.e. the golden rule). It evolved that way. Maybe. But, why is it good? Why should we not beat the brains in of the person who has something we want and learn to protect it ourselves? Why is it good to love other people, love strangers? Why be altruistic? It is a sorry answer to say that it is merely because of genetic selfishness. Why is it GOOD to be altruistic? You do not benefit, and those who you serve may not benefit from the attempt, but the attempt is still noted.

Perhaps it is because the Truth behind the matter is more than a mere idealogical statement of the Tie that binds the human to the other. Perhaps the Truth is way more complicated. Perhaps it takes the form of a Supreme Being. Perhaps this Being decides to reveal Truth and reveals what it means to be human. Human in its true form. Love in its true form. Truth in its true form. Is it even possible? Yes. I sure hope it's true.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Written Thoughts

I needed to write down thoughts. Amanda wrote in her blog recently and said that when she wrote, it was like a prayer. I do not pretend to the have the desire to write like she does. I do not want to become a professional writer. That's the problem. Not the not wanting to be a writer, but the fact that I can only say, "I don't want to do (fill in the blank)."

I feel like I'm in a storm of life right now. Rain is splashing on me. Lightning is flashing and blinding me. Thunder is deafening me and I don't know which way to turn. I'm wet, blind, and deaf. I'm like a newborn puppy. And yet, something keeps me from seeking God in all of this. Why? I wish God would reveal that to me. I don't know why I can't seek a real relationship with Him, why I cannot fully trust Him. There is also something keeping me from desiring the Christian fellowship I really need.

I'm glad I have friends. I'm glad I have family. But, nobody besides perhaps one or two people actually understand what I'm going through and even then, not completely. And they understand the need for a good job. A couple I believe even knows my feelings about the lack of direction. They can be sympathetic with me and suffer along, but they cannot do much more. I need someone to mentor me. To help me get through this time. I need direction. I need someone in my life who has been through it.

I'm a 25-year-old who lives with his parents, works in the food service industry, has three degrees (none of which seem to be very practical), and has loans to pay off soon with no steady job to actually do that with. I'm angry I'm in this position. I'm angry with the lack of direction in my life. I am angry that my car is always falling apart, and I can't afford a newer one. I feel angry that I have been mistreated recently and have no course but up for this. What am I supposed to do with all this when I feel no way to give it to God? Why can't I trust Him with this?

I can't say I don't have any joy. Amanda, family, friends, frisbee, and baseball (though the Cubs bring me little joy lately either...). And with the exception of perhaps the first two (sorry to those who might be offended by this), the best the later things do is distract me from the pain created within myself because of the desire for something greater than my current state and feeling helpless to change it. So, here is my prayer, my exasperation, my current state. And yet, few will know of it despite the fact it is on the worldwide web. I wish there were more to help me through the fellowship I desperately need. Someone find me...