Saturday, March 29, 2008

Huddled Masses

OMG - Kansas is gonna go all the way! This time of year makes me so nostalgic for my college basketball days. I had student tickets with my friends D. & L. We would go wicked early and sit in the student bleachers, reading the paper, playing cards or, very rarely, doing homework. The games were like a potent magic for the crowd.

From Springsteen to Jayhawk games, I'm realizing that what gets me going is that amazing shared experience. Once I saw U2. I've never been much of a fan, so I wasn't all that pumped about it. The show was good, but on the way out of this huge arena, almost everyone was still singing the refrain of the last song. It gave me goosebumps. Something about 10,000 people singing in unison makes it seem like we're all friends. As a genius Bruce fan said, "On the floor we've all got each other's backs. There's nothing good in this world that we can't do together."

The flip side of the crowd mentality is rioting, which is just terrifying. I've seen that a few times. When I was in Nairobi by myself I heard a big commotion as I was leaving a building. I asked someone what was happening and she replied, "They caught him!" When I rounded the corner, I saw a man being dragged down a city street, bloody and beaten, while throngs of people gave chase, screaming and throwing things at him. I thought I was going to to throw up. I beat a hasty retreat back to the place I was staying and burst into tears, frustrated by my own inability to stop the horror I had seen.

Wow - I've really taken a turn from the feel-good basketball post I had thought I'd write. You do that to me, Lone Reader, you little trickster. It's all jumbled up in my great gourd and writing to you helps me sort it out. Sigh...thanks. You're the best, man.

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