Last night I took the Orange Line to Boston from Malden. It was about 6:00 PM and the train was unusually full. Then I saw how many of the riders had green Boston Celtics jerseys on…and behold, a large number of Red Sox shirts and caps also materialized. Basketball and baseball games were holding the attention of enthusiastic fans. The buoyant mood among clusters of men was electric. They were joking and smiling, putting aside the drudgery of work and perhaps home stresses for a night out with the boys.
What is it about team sports that galvanises men’s psychic energy? As I walked to my destination, Arlington Street Church’s men’s spirituality group, to see Tom Shadyac’s film “I AM” ( www.iamthedoc.com ) I experienced a spiritual convergence.
Tom’s film is about his own total change of priorities after suffering a debilitating biking accident. He discovered that all we have in life is our ultimate connection with the entire universe, with the life we find everywhere and in everyone. As a successful director of such successful films as “Bruce Almighty,” “Ace Ventura,” and “Liar, Liar,” Tom discovered that the massive amount of “stuff” that he could buy as a millionaire didn’t matter, that having more did not make him proportionately happier. He discovered that all that really matters is the human community, not consumerism and competition.
Sports teams have a way of bringing together portions of the human community for a common cause. Yes, there’s lots of competition, but winning the “right way” is more important than just winning. The energy shared by fans at a ballpark or a stadium cuts across all potential divisions, making the many, one.
If we could just bottle that enthusiasm and focus, and bring it into our homes, neighborhoods, and workplaces we would begin the work Tom Shadyac reminds us is never finished: living consciously and intentionally for the sake of others. Men seeking to enter the heat of battle for the soul of humanity might do well to have the support of like-minded people and a good team coach.
Contact the Man’s Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org