"Take me out to the ballgame…" Every pair of lips in America easily picks up the old refrain, and can practically taste the salty peanuts and greasy popcorn as they join in the household tune. "Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack, I don't care if I never get back!" Die hard fans of America's pastime, or nearly any sport, will heartily shout along and truly mean it- what place could be better than in the stands, rowdy comrades at your side, junky food in your lap, beloved athletes on the field? The sports culture seen in baseball and football in the United States and soccer in countless other countries around the world are a testament to humanity's nature of sticking together: at heart, we are all team players.
However, that team spirit seems to be less and less apparent with each new generation. I know a six year old with an iPhone, for instance. Instead of running down the street to gather up his buds, he spends his afternoons playing Temple Run. Don't get me wrong, technology is great, and progress is engrained in the American persona - as is individualism. Since our country's conception, we have put a great emphasis on the individual, the free market, and being the best.
Let's look a little closer at the America's founding, shall we? Along with all of the break-away-from-Britain jazz, is something else. We don't have a founding father; we have founding fathers. Plural. As in, the men who gave birth to our style of society stressed the democratic; they were part of a team. The Declaration of Independence was not signed by a single tyrant, but by fifty-six leaders. That's enough men for one football team, two baseball teams, five soccer teams, five basketball teams, and I could go on. All who signed that special document were no doubt important, but only two went on to become president. Sounds like the guys who came up with American society were into team playing (granted, they sort of left minority groups and women out of the picture, but we're working on it). And yet, kids today are taught that winning is everything, and that can be applied to sports and activities, grades, getting into the best colleges and landing the most prestigious internships and jobs. Engrained in us is this idea that if "you ain't first, you're last," which is obviously ridiculous. If you're last, you're last, and even then I'm sure you tried your best. Isn't that all anyone can do?
It seems that the only area we still see a love for teamwork is in the arena, on the field, or in the stands. Let's extend that into our world: make classrooms and workplaces arenas, the grocery store parking lot a playing field, and the elevator a bleacher-worthy friend meeting ground. Collaborate. Volunteer with friends or family or strangers, and attempt to play nice. So let's root, root, root for each other and make everyday as exciting as the season's last home game.