I feel like everything deserves a disclaimer these days. This isn’t easy to write. I understand the concept I want to frame, the tone in which I’d like you to receive it, but I have a lot of strong emotions intertwined all through this. There’s no guarantee I say it right despite my best efforts. My only hope is that you read with understanding instead of with the intention to attack at every flaw you may find.
The efforts of humanity to do good are immense.Thousands of people across this country in particular have made it their careers helping others in need, supporting righteous causes and serving the public good. They dedicate a huge portion of their lives to contributing to the good humanity has to offer. Thousands of others volunteer their time or contribute funds for the same common goal. This community is in motion every single day and hardly ever does mention get made of it. That’s the world we live in and everyone knows it. And we also know better than to only focus on what’s sensationalized and force fed to us.
Media serves the public in only the “look at me model.” The good doers of the world are rarely focused on unless the story is sexy enough to draw attention to the network sacrificing their air time for it. Truly, no real thanks or appreciation is paid to these people, and what’s more important, these people don’t expect thanks or appreciation to be paid to them for the good they do. Yet, these efforts are made by many on a daily basis and even though they may not be curing the world of all its injustices, imagine what this place would be like without them.
It’s easy to take these things for granted but in our most horrifying moments, don’t lose sight of what direction the scale truly tips. Negatives in life seemingly always hit harder than positives, but that’s probably because there’s recovery involved after negatives. Not because they outnumber positives. Don’t lose sight of which direction the scale tips. Feel your emotions all you want, they make you human. In fact, be as human as you can be. Humanity actually demands and relies on you to celebrate that.
What happened in Orlando is a tragedy and that word doesn’t even come close to aptly describing the gravity of the situation. It was spineless, cowardly, immeasurably ignorant, rank with hate, entirely baseless, completely unjustifiable in any possible way, and most/worst of all, an act lacking a single trace of humanity beyond demonstrating the fragility of our own mortality. What happened in Orlando should never be ignored and I think you will be hard-pressed to find anyone who is actually is turning a full-on blind eye and deaf ear to it. Orlando is a perfect example of unfettered hatred attempting to strip away the humanity of many by senselessly attacking a community. The rest of us on the sidelines? We mourn for the loss of life, the destruction of families, and the stolen friendships because humanity does not limit itself to labels, and true community is a source of strength in fostering unity.
Community is a vital part of humanity and whether we’re staring into the face of hatred, coping with loss through mourning, or being granted the opportunity to celebrate as a collective, we should never pass up or diminish the value of a positive moment that encourages the unity of masses. A moment unifying strangers connected by a common bond. Humanity thrives in moments that bring communities together.
What better embodies a moment like that than a sports team, supported by a million+ if not millions of fans local and global, getting the opportunity to celebrate as a whole, their team winning a championship title?
Hear me out now…
I’m not saying the Pittsburgh Penguins winning the Stanley Cup is more important than the 50+ lives needlessly lost in Orlando and all those still hanging on or recovering in the hospital. I would never even suggest or imply that. I will say that in all that I’ve seen in my lifetime so far, humanity thrives on the strength of community. Community thrives via unity of people under common purpose. Unity thrives when families, friends,and perfect strangers stand, fall, take action side by side, mourn and celebrate together.
Why does the purpose for celebration matter if it’s undoubtedly a positive one?
What I’m also saying is life’s timing cares very little about what’s most convenient to you (as I type this all with one hand because I recently broke my dominant wrist). Life is full of situations that collide and life’s timing quite often is anything but convenient ( again, 1000+ typed words = very inconvenient with broken wrist). Mourning the victims of Orlando and celebrating the winning of the Stanley Cup do not have to be mutually exclusive. Because you’re doing one, does not mean you’re incapable of doing the other or that you’re diminishing the importance of either. From what I witnessed, the 2 very much and quite visibly shared a stage.
If you are from Pittsburgh or are a fan of the Penguins, no doubt your heart was as heavier than a cruise line anchor over what happened in Orlando. You shared in the same grief the entire country was feeling and still feels. In that same 24 hour span, you were given the opportunity to be a part of a positive common purpose along side masses of strangers, create a sense unity, foster strength in community, and demonstrate the brighter side of humanity in a time of tragedy.
And you did.
I can only speak to my own experiences in regard to yesterday, but in situations like these, I find what i thought was just my isolated experience is quite often a much more common occurrence within a collective who happen to share the same situation.
Emotions ran the spectrum yesterday and everyone I know experienced them differently. I know people who screamed with joy until they were brought to tears of sadness, yet still managing to wear a small, humble, appreciative smile. I know people who were white hot with anger and in an instant, couldn’t bring themselves to release from an embrace with another human being. The examples go on and on, but because of the outcome of a game, we celebrated together. It wasn’t good timing nor was it the storybook fairy-tale ending to a day that fans love to dream about, but whether or not we acknowledge it as such, we were given the opportunity to unify and show love, care and support for everyone around us connected through a common purpose.
And we did.
Pittsburgh, I applaud you. I’m proud to be one of you. Pittsburgh isn’t perfect but we’re sure as hell there when it comes to support for our own. Humanity has very serious problems and a long way to go before they can be solved, but last night, we were given the chance to celebrate the strength of our community and we showed up by the thousands for the world to see.
And most importantly… just like we did yesterday, today, we still care about the victims and everyone affected by the events in Orlando.
And we always will.
Yesterday was never a question of whether to celebrate the Penguins or mourn for Orlando. Yesterday, life played a massively horrible card and as we mourned, an opportunity was granted to us to through a Penguins victory to unite us as a community. You can’t tell me there’s no value in that when it comes to humanity.
Maybe to some of you this is all a big reach. It doesn’t make you right and it certainly doesn’t make me wrong. In fact, you’re going to have to try pretty damn hard to convince me I’m wrong.
Lets go Pens.