For me, one of the greatest glories of Twitter is how it can give you the news pretty much as it happens. I mean sure, don’t get me wrong, the dry LOL-athons derived from a group-Twitter watch of sweepy haired, spoof-estate agent James on The Apprentice give great value too, ditto the weirdly-compelling-but-also-shit-scary retweets of celebs without eyebrows but, in terms of the bigger picture, it’s Twitter’s ability to give you the near-immediate world in the palm of your hand that makes it more than a little bit spesh. In terms of the sheer scale of information now available to us, and the potential that has when it comes to expanding our minds and growing what we know, Twitter is a total game changer. Knowledge is food for the brain, and when that knowledge is a simple tap away, well, that’s a great, great thing.
Sometimes though, the information that’s inside your phone and at your fingertips, can be so immediate, it bobs up without warning. And sometimes, that info can have the effect of stopping you in your tracks. Literally. There have been a handful of times when something in the world of news has suddenly and unexpectedly captured my attention so firmly, it then takes over my thoughts. I can go weeks without it happening, then boom – my eyes read, my brain computes and, really quickly, I stop scrolling and start thinking. In the past it has been anything from a very lovely quote; to breaking news of Robin Williams’ death; to the Rosetta satellite/comet hook-up, that have popped up on Twitter and prompted an unexpected slap of reaction in me. A jolt of emotion that’s then made me wonder why I’ve picked up on it.
Today, this did exactly that.
I’ve been following this story on and off since it happened, and of course the beyond sad nature of it, in turn, made me sad when I read up on it, but otherwise it kind of just ticked along in the background. However, today, when the saddest of all sad news broke, it was this particular message, nestled amongst a ton of others, that I couldn’t stop reading.
Because, despite being someone who has close to zero clue about sport (I used to apply for the shot put every school sports’ day because there was a junior champion shot putter in our class and, unless the whole idea of sports day suddenly became ‘who can be the shittest’, I knew they’d never choose me over her) this Tweet felt like much more than an add-on to a sporting story. I may not play any kind of game, but I do get that sport, and this message, is not just about points or league tables or winning, it’s also about team. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re a world champion athlete, a church-hall-dwelling crochet fanatic or some kid in a playground chatting Minecraft with his sole-pal while the rest of his classmates play footy on the sports field, ultimately we all need a team. We all need to be a part of a team. And we all need to find those to be on our team – people who’ll champion the things we do; people whose shiz we, in-turn, can big-up; people who’ll root for us when the odds are crappy and people we can pass the ball to when our arms get tired. Or legs. I don’t know. Actual sports folk, forgive me. It’s an analogy. The real intricacies of balls and ting? I have no idea.
Anywayyyy. Yeah. Sport. I may not get the rules, but I kind of get ‘it’. Sure, 99% of the time my heart can be stony-as, but a raucous crowd of supporters on their way to a football match or a train full of roaring rugby boys on way to Twickenham will never not make me smile and maybe even get a little bit happy-teary. And it’s kind of that sentiment that made me read and read and re-read this Tweet. Not just sport, but life on the whole, is pretty much all about people, and community and working as a group. It’s about the togetherness that comes from shared passions and experiences. Good and bad.
The younger you are, the easier I think team comes. The older? Maybe not so much, and to find your team can involve more of a search, but honestly, I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing anyway. The more years you add on, the more your team gets a bit niche (right now I’m playing for Neon Sign Rovers and Crazy-But-Amazing-Books-About-Psychotherapy United, you want in?), but then more rewarding it is when you finally do find those teammates to join you. It’s all about starting the chant small and, as the team grows and the camaraderie gets stronger, that chant gets louder, you grow closer, together stand taller and you all start winning a bit more.
Whatever you do, whatever you love, whatever makes your blood pump with passion and your mind light up with energy, it is all kinds of ace to find a team – be it one of 2, 11 or 100 – that will represent and share and understand those very same things. Sure, solitude can be ok, but in life, the solidarity that comes with the mutual celebration of a win, not to mention the shared heartbreak of a loss, can be all kinds of fulfilling. It’s never just a game if it creates a team.