I used to love the forest. The primal feeling of interacting with nature, especially in the Northwest. There was something supremely refreshing and peaceful about walking beneath a towering canopy of Douglas Firs. Some of my very best memories in life involve the outdoors in the Puget Sound and greater Cascades.
I have since grown up and moved across the country. I now live in the South and there may be more trees here than in the Evergreen state. In fact, that’s all I see now are trees. They line the roads and highways. They fill the parks and empty lots. Driving from Virginia through Georgia, you’ll see nothing on either side, the entire way, but trees. There are no views, or mountains. Just trees.
Somewhere along the line, I lost sight of the forest. I no longer appreciate the grandeur and beauty. I just see them as trees. I see them as obstacles to the view beyond.
It’s not that I’ve forgotten what forests look like. Not at all. My perspective has changed. I now just see what I want to see. I’ve assigned a different value here to the trees in the South, and found them wanting.
There really is nothing wrong with the thick Pine growth of the South. In fact, my wife will tell you that North Carolina is the best thing since sliced okra. But dang it, I want salmon. I want to watch someone throw that fish and bag it. For me, that’s home.
And so it is for us as sports fans. We have for whatever reason chosen a team, to invest our
blood, sweat and tears on. I am a Seahawks fan. I will love them, defend them and justify their wrong doings, while equally berating, criticizing and disparaging another’s team.
I’m not a nasty person. I don’t intentionally want to harm or injure another. I just want you to see things my way. I am right, you know. At least that’s the way I see it. And this goes far beyond simple perspective. This is perspective’s much more complicated 3rd cousin twice removed – Narrative.
Narrative is the story that we want to see. Narrative is the scientist, historian, or journalist who spends their life researching a theory. And when that theory remains unsupported by evidence, they publish anyway because their efforts would not be in vain. Narrative is the belief system in which we want things to fall.
Immediately after the NFC Championship game the world of twitter had gone nuclear. Richard Sherman was the new face of villainy. Seattle fans were classless and throw popcorn. Niners personnel clothesline our players. Our players are PED abusing Cheathawks. Niners bash beer bottles over teammate’s heads. We’re better. No you aren’t. Your fans stab other fans outside of your stadium. Yea, well how many Lombardi trophys do you have?
Most people make snap judgment, knee jerk reactions to anything that supports their personal narrative. Many Niner fans who were emotionally at a loss after the game sought out any evidence to mitigate the pain they were feeling. Anything at all. Twelve kernels of popcorn falling on their injured player was enough to continue their hatred for the entirety of the Seahawks fanbase. I even heard about it on the local radio here in North Carolina. I don’t think there is anything from that game that has less evidence than the popcorn on Bowman debacle. But to the embattled fan, it supports a narrative.
Now don’t get me wrong. I did the same thing after Super Bowl XL. I hit the message boards on CBS.com nonetheless and . . . let’s just say I regretted that for many reasons. I was not a better man for it.
For the most part, one of the worst things that can happen to us, is that we are wrong. Our minds will often equate that to failure. The Freudian defense mechanisms will kick in with rationalization and outright denial, even possibly never reaching acceptance.
We must have an opinion. We must share said opinion with everyone within the range of our digital voices. It is nigh impossible to be a passive observer. According to my college stats professor it is impossible for the human mind to be completely unbiased. To run a random sample, we needed external controls for our experiment, because no matter how hard we tried, our minds could not pick subjects at random.
Most people believe they have an open mind. Well to that, sir, I say you’re liar. People often form an opinion mere seconds after witnessing something. The rest of the time is spent collecting evidence to support that opinion. It should be the other way around. But it’s not. There may be an example or two where you consciously and passionately research a topic and let the evidence speak for itself, buuuuut, yea, I’d still say you’re a liar, if you’ve done that one or two times.
This isn’t to say that we’re not rational people, who make good decisions. A lot of us will see the light and change from our wrong ways, but that doesn’t mean that we hadn’t formed our wrong opinion within seconds. It’s just the difficult part of reaching the last true, without excuse, layer of acceptance long after the first seeds of opinion have formed.
Remember the Fail Mary, or Golden Fleece play. How many here would call that the worst call of all time? How many Packer fans would? The truth is, it was a freaking exciting play. Seriously, the whole game on the line. A greenleaf rookie Wilson, on the last play of the game with a hail freaking mary to a guy named Golden. Holy flippin Canoly that was awesome.
Sometimes the trees that we see are obstacles to our view. We predict an outcome, or least hope for it, and then Frank Gore runs for 51 up the gut, past Earl Thomas and our emotions become disheveled.
I’m not saying to erase all opinions, perspectives or narratives. Well, because that would be impossible. Just don’t be a classless idiot fan, that everyone accuses the opposition of being. Rise above my friends. I’m grateful for this intelligent community of Fieldgulls. My narrative is that this is the best site on the whole darn web. I appreciate the opinions and perspectives from the writers and fans. Who’s got it better than us? I hope that everyone can take a step back from time to time and see the forest for the trees.
Ah screw it. We are the best. Go Hawks!