On Saturday night, the Georgia Bulldogs played the Auburn Tigers, for the SEC Championship. The stakes and the tensions were high because so much was riding on the game, not to mention that Georgia had lost to Auburn just a few weeks earlier.
After that loss, I ran into a friend of mine from work, buying groceries at Walmart. She’s a big Auburn fan. We talked a few minutes about their big win and I congratulated her. We talked about how wearing the orange and blue Auburn colors might be dangerous in a Walmart in Athens, Georgia. We are after all, in Bulldog country. But, we also laughed about it being just a game.
She shared with me that a friend of her teenage daughter, had been really ugly to her after the win. We both kind of shook our heads, wondering why friends would be so petty about something like a football game.
She wore her Auburn colors loud and proud, to work on Monday morning and we all, (most of us Bulldog fans), congratulated her and maybe picked on her a little, but it was all in good fun. She knew it and we knew it.
On Saturday night, the Bulldogs won the rematch and Auburn lost. As I scrolled down on my Facebook feed covered with many, “Dawgs win!,” messages, I came upon a post from my Auburn friend. She simply said, “Win or lose, it’s great to be an Auburn Tiger!! Congrats Georgia!”
I was stunned and incredibly impressed. She didn’t have to say anything, but she did.
I remember when football games were merely games and at the end of the day, winners and losers were good sports, no matter the outcome. I remember when politics was simply politics and if your guy won and mine lost, were still friends. It was after all, just politics. I remember when we were told that everyone’s opinion mattered and when we differed that was okay, because the differences of ideas and opinions, helped to make our country great.
I don’t know what has happened in the past decade or two. We have become so serious and self-focused about everything we do. Somehow, things like sporting events and political races have become ways to spread hate. We have become thin skinned too. We have become completely intolerant of people who don’t think like us.
If they don’t agree with us, then they hate us. Where has our self-control gone? Where has our patience and integrity gone? What happened to our sense of humor? What has happened to our focus?
If the answer to those questions is social media, then maybe social media can be part of the solution. I replied to my friend’s post as soon as I saw it and told her she was my favorite Auburn Tiger. There were a few others who replied positively as well.
If we all followed that example and decided to spread humility, graciousness and love on social media, could we make a difference? Could we stem the tide of anger and hate? Seems to me that Advent might be the perfect season to give it a try.
It simply begins with a single keystroke.
Have an awesome day!