Friday, March 15, 2019

The wisdom of the crowd

Take me out to the ballgame
Toronto, ON
July 2014
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I took this photo on a hot July afternoon in 2014 in Toronto's Rogers Centre stadium, where my little family and I joined a few thousand of our closest friends to take in a Blue Jays game.

Today it has even more significance, as it illustrates how we can, at once, be both unique and connected. And in light of the mosque massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand, I've been looking for ways to dampen the sense of despair that overwhelms me every time some hate-filled dumb-fuck, pathetic excuse of a human being decides to pick up a gun to "prove" something. There, I swore. Mark this day.

But on this typically perfect afternoon at the ballyard, I was feeling decidedly more at-peace with the universe. Bathed by a sunny, deep blue sky, the good guys beat the Texas Rangers 9-6, and my wife and kids were happy. Come to think of it, everyone around us was happy, even the folks wearing Rangers jerseys. There was lots of good-natured chit-chat flying back and forth in the stands, a reminder, perhaps, of our collective need to occasionally get away from the glow of the giant screens at home and experience an event first-hand, surrounded by strangers.

No one vilified anyone for being a Muslim, a Jew, an immigrant, an other. No one raged online about white power. We were all fans, 36,000 of us deciding to leave the world behind the turnstiles for a few hours while we hung out in the blue plastic seats and took in some ball.

In the end, I know I'm not kidding anyone: Monsters live among us, and they are increasingly emboldened to act. Nothing stops them from deciding that, today, it's our turn to be targeted simply because of who we are. But a quick snap of a crowd at a ballgame illustrates, to me at least, that we're capable of more. That it doesn't take much for us to gather, in a common place, around a common theme, for a common purpose, and simply enjoy the moment, together, for what it is. It's called being human.

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