I got picked on for being a Steelers’ fan again yesterday.
Admittedly, that’s to be expected when I work in Baltimore, MD, home of the Ravens.
Also admittedly, I was drawing attention to myself by wearing my Steelers’ blanket, which I keep in the office. In my defense, it was freezing! My idiot company refuses to put the heat on.
Also in my defense, it really doesn’t matter whether I’m wearing my blanket or not. I’m a Steelers’ fan in solid Ravens’ territory. Therefore, I get picked on no matter how demure I am.
Heck, I don’t even bring up my team when they beat the locals. Doesn’t matter one bit.
For the last year and a half now, my main football antagonist has been a coworker who’s annoying in general. After this latest round of razzing, I found myself hoping enough Ravens’ players get hurt this season to destroy the entire team’s Playoff chances. Just to get him back.
That isn’t something I’m exactly proud of. Yet I’m trying hard to be ashamed. And I’m not.
I’m not normally a violent person. Usually I don’t even like seeing my adversaries embarrassed intellectually or emotionally. It makes me cringe. Yet there I sat wishing – wanting – serious physical harm on my fellow human beings because of a difference in opinion.
Thinking it over, I realized this was a perfect example of why we should all learn to control our emotions a bit better.
Consider… My coworker hates the Steelers because he’s been told they’re the Ravens’ rivals; ipso facto, he must loathe them. As a result of that general mentality, I hear enough grating comments about my team that I’ve come to not only hate the Ravens, but even the color purple.
All of which is ridiculous on multiple levels.
This is a sport! A matter of ego. Which isn’t a good reason to discard another’s feelings.
The same applies to politics, no matter how much more serious the stakes. Yes, we could hate them for first hating us. And they could hate us for opposing everything they stand for.
But what’s the point? What in the world does it accomplish other than producing more hatred?
Rivalries and disagreements are one thing. They’re inevitable, and sometimes even helpful or fun. So I’m hardly suggesting we all sit around in a circle holding hands and singing Kumbaya.
What I am saying is that we should never forget that the opposing side is human. Even if they are Ravens’ fans.