Yesterday, I was accused of belonging nowhere; of having no loyalty to any particular city or state or, more specifically, college sports team. What I really wanted to say to this person was “why do I have to be loyal to only one?”
I was born in Seattle. I love the smell of the salt water as it floats together with the pine. And I root for the University of Washington Huskies.
I was raised in Eastern Iowa. I become completely hypnotized watching the corn rows as I drive past them on a gravel road. I root for the University of Iowa Hawkeyes.
I was educated in upstate New York. I felt truly at home for the first time “high above Cayuga’s waters.” I root for the Cornell University Big Red.
I live in Austin, Texas. I have finally found the city that makes me want to put down roots, and wear cowboy boots. I root for the University of Texas Longhorns.
I am connected in life and love with a KU alum. I love watching the scores slowly update on the ESPN iPhone app because we don’t have cable and still want to “catch the game.” So I root for the University of Kansas Jayhawks.
And those are just the cities and teams who have touched my life so far…
The list of cities, states, teams, people who make me want to stand up and cheer for them will continue to grow as my life goes on. And why on earth would I want to limit my ability to cheer and celebrate success? Why would I want to limit the excuses to smile and laugh and do it all with a group of like-minded people? Why would I want to put a cap on the amount of positivity I have in my life?
I am fiercely loyal. Someday, the Kansas Jayhawks will play the Cornell Big Red. And I will put on the warm-up jacket I still have from my days as a CU cheerleader. I will scream and shout for my Big Red. JP will shout “Rock Chalk” at the top of his lungs. And we will spend 30 game-time minutes loving the crap out of the schools that made us who we are.
Because that’s really what loyalty is – it’s love. It’s not wearing certain colors, excluding others for the benefit of one, turning pride into hostility and animosity. And love is like fullness – “taking fullness from fullness, what remains is fullness.”
Cheering for these teams, celebrating the success of various cities and states, crossing my fingers for a long list of people…I’m going to keep doing all of that. I belong to them all, am loyal to them all, and love them all.