Expanding Team Spirit to Magnify Beauty

Last weekend my mom and I went to a women’s basketball game as part of our season ticket package. We both enjoy watching the local college team since the university has been a part of our lives - I was received both of my degrees from MSU, and Mom was an employee who retired after forty-plus years. The Bobcats have always been, and will always be, our team.

As the game clock ticked down, the opposing team was making a comeback, and the crowd began to unify and rally. With each home score, we cheered excitedly, and when the referees made a bad call, we protested loudly. The closer the score, the more synchronized and passionate the response.

The crowd had taken on the emotions and the actions of the players, so together we shot each basket and felt every foul. We were all one tribe pushing each other to succeed. It felt energizing and beautiful to love on our team like this, but I realized that there could be a dark side to this behavior.

This is what humans have spent centuries doing - supporting Us against Them.

And this is also what humans need to undo - putting one tribe over the dignity and value of others.

Sports teams are just one of many groups with which we align ourselves. We have a work tribe, a family tribe, and a friends and neighbors tribe. Beyond that we identify with our town or rural status, our state residency, and our native country. We put ourselves and others into boxes labeled with income level, age, ability, skin color, or religion. And once we’ve “diagnosed” a person or group, our brain begins to make automatic determinations about how much support they warrant from Us, Our Tribe.

To combat this psychological effect and make intentional, loving decisions, we must be aware of how we are viewing Them, the Other Tribes. As we learn their stories, struggles, and joys, we can start connecting with them in new ways. 

What if we could start cheering and protesting alongside them?

Then we can seek out our deepest connection, the one of shared humanity, to welcome them as part of our team.

Some doorways from this week:

  • We're continuing to watch Blue Planet II, and this week I got to follow along as a Portuguese Man-of-War sailed across the open ocean. A science-fiction prop department couldn't make a stranger looking creature!
  • A friend messaged me a beautiful and kind note about last week's blog post, and it touched my heart and gave me encouragement just when I needed it.
  • I led a meeting for a volunteer group last week that was full of intense emotions. I was grateful that I was able to maintain my composure and facilitate the heated discussion. I truly felt a Divine power supporting and guiding me.


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