A Nation in Mourning

I root for the Red Sox and the New England Patriots, and I love it when they make the World Series or the Super Bowl, but if they should lose, I cannot imagine more than a couple of minute’s rueful recap before pouring the rest of the beer down the sink and getting on with life.

Now for the players, who have spent so much time and energy getting to that point, I can imagine that such a top-level defeat can be a bitter pill, and the trip home a long and largely silent one.  But for the coaches, managers, and other hangers-on, I have always subscribed to the idea that those hiring them have to be looking for someone smart enough to play the game but dumb enough to think it’s important.

At the close of my seminar yesterday (a confused but earnest attempt to lay out my thoughts on somatic perception to a group of body-centered psychotherapists), Giselle (the organizer and coincidentally Misty’s mum) put the score of the England-Germany World Cup game up on the white board: 4-1, a terrible score for those of you less familiar with the beautiful game.  Bad move: some of the students immediately demonstrated some of the signs of shock and trauma we had been talking about during the lecture: shortness of breath, difficulty speaking, a depressed posture at the exhale end of the spectrum, or lack of ability to focus.

Paddington Station, a burbling throng at any time, was palpably quiet, and populated by zombies.  The train back up to Oxford was best described as stunned into silence, everyone staring straight ahead.  When I got home, I looked at the highlights myself (looping endlessly on all of England’s four stations): England was robbed of one goal for sure (why don’t they use video? it would have taken 10 seconds to assure the officials it was over the line) but they were simply outplayed from start to finish.

It’s a game, for chrissake! – kicking a plastic ball around a field according to some arbitrary rules; let’s get some perspective – where does this over-identity come from?  Time to get a grip on real life and move on with alleviating suffering, loving our children, appreciating the beauty, and cleaning up the planet.  Why doesn’t starving Nigeris, the use of rape as a weapon of war, oil spewing over pelican nesting grounds, or the deformed babies from the use of depleted uranium in Afghanistan bring silence to a train station?

John Cleese has the silliness of American football down: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sD_8prYOxo

Time for someone to bring a similar sense of perspective to the FIFA World Cup.  Enjoy it, sure, but identifying with it?  If the outcome of a game wrecks your day – even an hour – that speaks of an empty life. (Just my opinion)

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3 Responses to “A Nation in Mourning”

  1. Scott Says:

    As a former coach and philosophy major, I understand where you are coming from. Sports are an entirely human created activity. We create the equipment and the rules. We can change them at any time we like.

    Sport from the participants viewpoint makes sense.

    Sport from a spectators viewpoint, I think, becomes a mash up of all sorts of psychological projection and other misdirection.

    But what a cathartic moment for the British, famous for their “stiff upper lip” and distance from emotion to have a group “feeling” moment.

    • Tomyers Says:

      I quite agree – I wasn’t talking about the players. And I am all over the idea of increased physical training and activity. But to see spectators literally collapse in the face of the defeat – well, ok, good for the Brits to have a shared moment, but it felt way over the top to me. I cheered loudly for the Saints when they won – something good for New Orleans – but I wouldn’t have lost any sleep or any breath if they had not.

  2. Lia Says:

    Thanks for the perspective.

    I much agree.

    As you ask about the big stuff, why don’t those issues hush the train station?
    Perhaps in a game ‘we’ can feel unified for an emotional blink. Easy and strong and alive. And passive. But those greater issues take more effort than one single person can often stand. However, if we truly unite / contribute our energy or even make the small individual choices to create change on those seemingly insurmountable issues, more profound change can come. Even if our choice is to simply make our life more peaceful, beautiful, wonderful, amazing that may be enough.

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