Thursday, November 3, 2016

CAN YOU FEEL IT? (Congratulations to the Chicago Cubs!)

What a nail-biter, right?

If you know me you would be wondering what I was talking about, because you know I don’t watch sports (and a select few of you would also know that I stopped biting my nails when I was 24).

But I watch happy, and I watch awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, amazing, incredible, loving, surprising, momentous, wondrous, and funny. And I watch people, from one individual person to large and larger groups.

When I’m down, I have a series of video clips that I watch: soldiers returning home and surprising family and pets, Susan Boyle’s first audition with Britian’s Got Talent, the last half hour of Shawshank Redemption, and the last fifteen minutes of The Pursuit of Happyness. They pick me right up.

I have another clip to add to my collection, now, thanks to EarthCam (and #worldseries #game7 #chicagocubs #clevelandindians #facebooklive) and their live footage of the crowd outside of Wrigley Field (yes, I had to look that up) the night the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years (I found that out on Facebook).

The video is three hours long, but you only need to watch the first fifteen minutes. For those of us who follow-sports-casually-but-don’t-watch, those first ten minutes explain every comment your friends made on Facebook during the game.

You feel it all: tension, anticipation, hope, loss of breath, tingling, fear … and then you feel the overwhelming excitement and happiness and joy and awe - especially that OHMYGOD moment when everyone found out they won!

Look at the crowd. Watch them as they are waiting. Even knowing the outcome (I’m sure I’m not spoiling this for anyone by now), you feel it all. While it’s hard to look at individual faces, check out the body language and what they are doing. See all the cell phones held up, either taking pictures or showing what’s going on inside the stadium to those close enough to see. Notice the police personnel and security; watch them get in formation for crowd control – you can even sense what they are feeling: tension, hopeful anticipation, preparedness … and maybe real fear.

Can you feel it? In those first fifteen minutes, you understand the lyrics of the song by the Jackson 5. It’s in the air, the whole world is coming together … can you feel it?

I dare anyone to watch that video and tell me that they don’t know or have any perception of the emotional atmosphere, or feel even the slightest sensation of what every single person is feeling there.

Now I have a question for you:

How do you know?

HOW do you know?

This is empathy, the ability to understand and share someone else’s – and in some cases, everyone else’s – feelings.

But you already knew that. Empathy is an accepted condition. But how does it travel? What is it that allows more than one person to share and experience the same emotion?


We are all the same. I still can’t understand how the idea of empathy can be so accepted while separation between us is so forced. I daresay that in that crowd there are many different types of people of different colors, different genders, differing faiths, Clinton supporters, Trump supporters, straight, LGBTQ, racists, conservatives, liberals, dog lovers, cat lovers, marrieds, singles, pro-lifers, pro-choicers, coffee drinkers, tea drinkers, tree huggers, techies, Trekkies, home owners, apartment renters, people who like anchovies and people who don’t, conformists, non-conformists, book readers and e-book readers, people who swear by the Oxford comma and those who want to get rid of it, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, grandparents, step-parents, mothers, fathers, and children.

There may even be every one of those types there.

(And we are all children, aren’t we?)

Look at all of them, together like that. You can actually see the sameness of all of us in those few minutes, even with and through the variety of emotions displayed.

Look around you when you’re at a concert, in a cafeteria, in school, in church, or in line for the bathroom (Ladies, you know what I’m talking about!). Our connectedness is in our faces daily, and we still want to draw lines between us as if our differences matter in who we care for, associate with … accept.

And we are all hypocrites if we continue to live by separation of our differences and choose to be a part of any extended group of people like this – we are saying our sameness is selective. Today, right now, for this, we can accept each other?

It can’t be both ways, can it? But it is. Look at the event itself: The World Series. This event is what triggered every positive emotional reaction in that crowd – and the exact opposite emotions being experienced at that same moment in Cleveland: disappointment, sadness, anger, bewilderment, loss, grief …

One event. Opposite meanings. This and that. The same and different.

It will always be this and that, no matter how much we try to force the choosing of sides. We are all the same and we are different – and our differences always circle ‘round back to our sameness, because despite them there is always a commonality.

Let’s try not to be selective, and accept all of it. This and that. Always.

To Cleveland and the Indians: I’m sorry, but I have high hopes for the future. (I’m from Boston. Believe me, I understand what you are going through.)

To Chicago and the Cubs: Congratulations! (I’m from Boston. Believe me, I understand what you are going through.)

Even as someone who pays little attention to sporting events until they get really big (did I mention I didn’t know that the World Series was going on until the 5th game – and that I found out on Facebook?), I can sense both the excitement and disappointment with the highs and lows of our home teams, because it’s in the air - we all can. I remember when the Red Sox won the World Series (I did pay attention at the end). What I remember most was what it felt like, that rush, the high that had captured all of Boston and Massachusetts for months afterwards. The happiness in everyone that carried over into everything else in our lives at that time.

Chicago will be enjoying that boost for months and years to come.

I can feel it.

(Photo from EarthCam's Facebook Page