There has been a lot of football excitement around Kansas City this past month. The Chiefs won the Super Bowl for the first time in fifty years. Even though I’m not a big sports fan I couldn’t help but get caught up in the excitement. I have a confession to make. As happy as I was for KC, Superbowl mania was getting on my nerves. It felt like I couldn’t walk down the street without seeing a red shirt, or hat, or billboard with the Chiefs’ logo on it. On game days bars and restaurants would be overflowing with loud football fans. I kept seeing people spontaneously break into the tomahawk chop (a hand gesture done in unison that some Native Americans have declared to be highly offensive).
It was nice to see KC recognized around the world but I was divided about being connected to an organization that displayed, in my opinion, such insensitivity. My thoughts snowballed into the mass tribalism of our present-day. It felt like the entire city had become Chiefs fans and I wasn’t a part of it. I felt embarrassed and alienated. It was like high school all over again.
After a while of allowing these thoughts to come and pass I realized that I don’t have to subscribe to ideas that I don’t agree with just to enjoy a football game any more than I need to be a Satanist to enjoy a black metal show. I can enjoy a good gospel tune without ever stepping into a church. I can listen to punk rock without shaving my head or wearing a leather jacket. And I can enjoy a football game, as long as I remain mindful as I do it. I also don’t need to assume that I know what is in the heads of people who may choose to do things I don’t like. I would never judge a style of music purely based upon what a handful of fans of that music did or said.
It would be easy for me to criticize sports as a less refined outlet for fostering community and culture in our society, and believe me I have. But it’s not to hard to see the commonalities between music and sports. I’ve only been to one pro football game in my life, many years ago. I couldn’t tell you who won that day. But what I do remember was total strangers hugging each other and decibel levels that rivaled any rock concert I’ve ever seen. Anybody who has played music long enough realizes that it’s a team sport. Even if you’re a solo artist, folks like the sound person, the promoter, the door person, even the bartender can all be important elements in a winning show. – Thanks for listening, MMM
This month’s playlist includes songs by: Broken Heart Syndrome, Archers Of Loaf, The Johns, Ebony Tusks, Hello Mary, Built To Spill, James Leg, Alabaster DePlume, The Homesick, Mark Hollis, Patti Smith, Soundwalk Collective, Phillip Glass, Sufi group of Sheikh Ibrahim, Igor Stravinsky, 75 Dollar Bill, The Westerlies, Gang Of Four
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