Norton: Which side are you on?
As I sat outside enjoying my morning coffee and reading the news, the calm and normalcy of my day was interrupted by several people walking in my direction. They were easy enough to notice, as they were wearing hats showing who they supported, and they had big buttons pinned to their jacket making it very clear whose side they were on. And if that wasn’t enough, they marched down the street shouting at all those who they believed were against them.
Thinking that the commotion would pass, and I could get on with a quiet cup of coffee and some reading time, things only became more interesting. Coming from the opposite direction was another group of people wearing hats and buttons, even carrying flags and pennants that made it clear that they were in complete opposition of the first group.
As I sized up the situation, it became abundantly clear that their paths would collide right in front of me. A few people seated at the other tables on the patio became a little anxious. Some seemed ready to jump in and pick a side. Looking at what both groups represented, I realized that I didn’t support either one. I didn’t have a dog in this hunt, as some might say.
As one group drew closer from my right, I could hear the taunting getting louder. As the other group approached from my left, the name calling started. It appeared that things were going to get ugly and get ugly fast. Those that were a little anxious made the move back inside the coffee shop. And those customers who just a few minutes earlier were sitting quietly sipping on coffee began getting fired up and moved closer to the oncoming fray. With limited options I was forced to decide. I secured my coffee with one hand, pocketed my phone with the other, and prepared to escape.
The people in red hats and red T-shirts were moving quickly toward the people with blue hats and blue T-shirts. The people wearing blue were not backing down, they stood their ground. Just when the two sides were about to have a final showdown of guts and glory, I came up with a way to stop the insanity. I shouted, “Go O’s!”
The people wearing red stopped and stared. The group in blue looked at me in confusion. But there I was, the Orioles fan that I am, bringing peace to a potentially hazardous baseball fan brawl. The Red Sox fans began to laugh, the Yankee fans laughed even harder. Peace was restored with both sides reminding me that the O’s were in last place. Just then a Red Sox fan challenged me, asking me who I would root for between the Yankees and Red Sox.
I said that I root for them both, that if my O’s were out of contention, I wouldn’t care who won, just as long as whoever won the division, that they would go on to win the World Series. Reminding them that we are all in the same division and at the end of the day, we should be rooting for each other not fighting and arguing over nonsense (said with my best attempt at a Boston accent).
Red verse Blue; Blue verse Red; it’s all nonsense. One day maybe we will all realize that our teams are stronger together, and that we have the best chance of winning when we are aligned and pulling for one another instead of trying to tear each other down.
This is a fictitious story and it could appear that I am taking a tough and complex situation and oversimplifying it or not respecting the gravity or potential consequences should one side get their way. However, I will stand firm in my belief and root for us all to win and win together. I would love to hear your story at firstname.lastname@example.org and when we can come together to root for each other, it really will be a better than good year.
Michael Norton is the grateful CEO of Tramazing.com, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager, and motivator to businesses of all sizes.