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Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Game of the Decade, Social Networks, and Being Part of a Team

Today my honey sent me a text (he's in Las Vegas on a trip): "Turned down Cirque tickets because I want to watch the game. Am I nuts?" My reply: "It's the game of the decade. Of course not."

After this short conversation, I spoke with a few of my friends. They didn't understand why he would give up Las Vegas Cirque de Soleil tickets to sit in a room and watch Alabama play Louisiana State on television. It's just a game. You can see the final score. Know who won. Why pass up tickets to watch Cirque live to watch the game on TV?

Because it's college football and the #1 ranked team is playing #2. And it's SEC. It's intense. It's watching boys on scholarships giving their all and hoping they've made the right choice. It's parents sharing excitement with their children. It's hotdogs on grills. Tradition. Family. Something to cheer for.

There is so much beyond our control. The economy. The decisions of Congress. Disease. War. But just as with life, in an SEC football game, we cheer for our team. We cling to loyalty based on geography (some call it Bama football, some call it patriotism). But for those few hours, the problems and stress that surrounds us everyday fall away. We focus and find hope in cheering on a group of boys. We find identity. Something that glues us to where we are. Because we all need a tether that grounds us to something. That gives us a sense of belonging.

Writing is a solitary pursuit. It's difficult to find that tether and sense of belonging when you work in a coffee shop surrounded by strangers, or at your kitchen table. But social networking has changed that. Twitter, Goodreads, and Scribed allow me to connect with other writers. Ask them for advice. Cheer them on and receive their encouragement in return. These tools have pulled me into a virtual world in which I'm now part of a team. And just as with the Boys of Fall, I believe I can finally get across that goal line because I'm surrounded by others who want the same thing.

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