The World Seriously

I wouldn't call us fanatics, but Alice and I watch our share of sports. We root for the home teams and are particularly proud of our Tampa Bay Lightning and Rays. The other day we saw Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers--fierce opponents--embrace and smile after their game together, even though one of them lost to the other.

Wouldn't it be marvelous if nations could compete, as in the Olympics, but only in the sphere of strength, speed, poise and precision?

Not a few months after the 9/11 attacks, there was a play on Broadway called "The Guys" about Nick, a fire captain, who lost eight men in the collapse of the World Trade Center. As he prepares for each eulogy, he gets help from a writer, Joan. A most touching point in the drama occurs when Joan begins to sob. Through the captain's stories, she has gotten to know these deceased men so well that she weeps for their deaths, the wives and lives and children they leave behind. Nick says, "I'm sorry. I shouldn't put you through all this sadness." Joan replies, "I want to hear this. No, I need to hear this. I need to know their stories. These are not just your guys. They were my brothers."

She continues:

I knew then that every time I saw a person on the street, I saw only his public shadow. The rest, the important part, lived in layer after layer beyond my view. We have no idea what wonders are hidden in the people around us.

Behind every mild or mean post, truthful or twisted tweet; behind every lawn sign promoting a candidate; behind the masks and smiles and frowns of every person we meet or see online or on TV is a multi-layered story.

Oh, we're going to continue watching sports, as trite as they may seem in comparison with what is happening "in the world"; and we're going to quietly differ from opinions we don't share; but we're cheering for a bright, inextinguishable torch that can be passed on to the next generation which assures them that they matter in all their hidden wonder: irrespective of political stripe or skin tone, dialect or accent, country of origin or religious leaning... these are our guys, our gals.