Be Kind When No One Else Is

andreakihlstedt

Nick Wetzel, Sports Editor | 

We live in a strange world. Regardless of who you voted for in the last election or what political party you affiliate with, if someone told you 10 years ago that Donald Trump would be president, you’d probably call them crazy. But we do live in a strange world, and here we are.

If someone told you 10 or 15 years ago that every month or so there would be some form of national tragedy, you most likely wouldn’t believe a word of it. Perhaps you would even assume it to be the plot of a dystopian novel.

Unfortunately, we suffer from preventable tragedies all too often. Even scarier, the word “tragedy” itself is losing meaning as it becomes increasingly the “norm.” When we go a few months without one happening, it feels almost odd and there is an overwhelming sense of dread that the next must be right around the corner. As horrible as that sounds, it’s where we find ourselves today.

Before I get a bunch of messages and comments on this article calling me a “libtard” and “another spoiled millennial,” I want to be clear that this is not an article bashing Trump or calling for the NRA to be disbanded or the second amendment to be repealed. The purpose of this article is to ask one small favor: try your best to be a decent person.

Be kind to people, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, political stance, financial status, etc. Appreciate the differences and individuality of every person you come across. Don’t discredit the things that prevent us from being carbon copies of each other, or for not fitting into a box of what you expect a person to be. If everyone was the same, the world would be a painfully boring place, and sex would get awkward. In the end, the individuality of people should be celebrated, not attacked.

Everyone thinking the same and acting the

same can actually lead to some problems itself. The “mob mentality” is a very real thing and can drive people to do things they’d never do in the right state of mind, on their own accord.

Being the sports editor, I’m obligated to bring sports into everything I write, so it’s only inevitable that I mention the one place where the mob mentality is extremely prevalent and “accepted:” sporting arenas. In many places, it’s not socially acceptable to shout profanities at the top of your lungs, but alas, it’s basically expected within the arena. You rarely see people doing the wave in a library, but it’s commonplace at stadiums.

As much fun as doing the YMCA at Yankee Stadium during the seventh inning stretch is, that’s the only place you’ll find many people doing it. As great as everyone acting as one in these circumstances is, the mob mentality in sports can also be an ugly thing.

Racism is still a tremendous issue in some areas of athletics, and there are countless instances of people throwing bananas at players of color during soccer matches in Europe, or shouting racial slurs at black baseball players in the United States.

These things don’t happen to these athletes everyday on the street, in part because the people who do these things are depending on a mask of anonymity to act on their bigotry, but also because the mob mentality has a way of fostering these usually hidden parts of people’s beliefs and unleashing them in the ugliest of ways.

So, in summary, be kind to people. Go out of your way to be nice to a stranger, just say hi, or even be good to a friend. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try new things. Pay it forward.  I’m not saying it’ll change the world, but it could change someone’s day.

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