by Tucker Morrow
(Editor's Note: This was written before the Super Bowl but the MostlyAccurate.com staff failed miserably at posting it in a timely manner. However, it is still 100% relevant today.)
With the Super Bowl approaching, it’s that time in America where everyone has to pick their team for the big game. Some people have been Seahawks and Broncos fans for a while, and some people try to make you think they’ve been Seahawks and Broncos fans since “way before they were good.” Then there are people like me, people who are fans of franchises not represented in the Super Bowl (Go Pack Go!). These people have the task of evaluating all of the evidence at hand, and coming up with the decision of who we are going to root for during the game (or at least until they start losing by a lot). There are many reasons why people decide who to pick, but one reason seems to be used more than any others, and it disturbs me. The most common reason I see for people picking the team they are going to root for is based on who they want to see fail. After the spectacle Richard Sherman put on, many people are siding with the Broncos because they want to see Richard lose. All of these decisions seem justified and are supported by many people in our society. It would be that big of a deal if it were limited to the Super Bowl, but in our society, for some reason we are motivated by wanting to see other people fail. Whether that other person is a coworker, classmate, competitor, or whoever, we like watching them lose.
Somehow, we’ve tricked ourselves into thinking that a loss for someone else equals a win for us. That is simply not true. In the competitive nature of our culture, we desire to win or get ahead as much as we desire our competition to lose and fall behind. It’s a trap. No matter what you believe going in, watching somebody else fail will never bring you the satisfaction you think it will. We’ve been duped into believing that desiring someone to fail is the same as desiring yourself to succeed. It isn’t, and it only leads to more of the same. We’ve become a society that gloats at Kobe Bryant going down with multiple injuries, we laugh when our least favorite player gets busted for steroids, we repost on facebook the ESPN story of our least favorite coach yelling at reporters and we write the caption “class act” underneath. Somehow, in the midst of this hate (because that’s what it is), we feel justified. We think it is our right to trash people we don’t like. We have a terrible sense of the word justice, because it bends and shapes itself to our will. It seems to me that we really believe that people are deserving of what they get. We honestly think that it is right for us to wish ill on somebody, because they had it coming. Although they may indeed be deserving, if we are going to judge them by that standard, we need to judge ourselves as well. The bottom line is, we all deserve that which we wish on other people. If we are brutally honest with ourselves (which we rarely are) we know that we are just as flawed as the people we victimize.
Instead of this endless cycle of negativity, why not let grace enter the conversation? We have a chance to give out grace as freely as it has been given to us. If we want, we can withhold judgment on somebody that we really don’t know. When I was younger, and was talking about how terrible a certain pop culture icon was my dad would listen for a while and then say, ”Wow! I didn’t realize you knew that person well enough to know that much about them.” See, we develop an opinion of people we don’t know, and let it proceed unchallenged as the ultimate truth about that person in our minds. So much of our opinions of people are built around what we’ve heard, not what we’ve experienced. I believe that there is good in every person, and that all people have something to offer. If you don’t see it in someone, look for it! All people have value.
You don’t have to like everybody, I definitely don’t, but there is a difference between not liking someone, and hoping bad things happen to them. Rather than hoping somebody fails, let’s help them succeed! When we choose love over hate, we give people we once victimized motivation to go love the people they have victimized. Let’s root for people to win, and lets invite them to be a part of our group. Let’s be an inclusive people full of encouragement. Tell people about the good you see in them, don’t hope they lose because of the bad.