I grew up in a small town called Lacrosse. The town still has about 300 people living there. Our high school mascot was a tiger, and it was painted on the gym wall. I remember going to basketball games and cheering loud for the Tigers. During the games, we kinda disliked the visiting teams. And boy, did we get upset when the refs made what looked like a bad call against us!

In the 1970s, our school started to have fewer students. Why? Well, farming was getting more automated, so fewer people were needed to work the land. Fast forward to the 1990s, small schools like ours started joining their sports teams together. There just weren’t enough kids to play some sports anymore. That’s how Lacrosse became the “Tigercats” when we teamed up with Washtucna, another small town. They were the Wildcats. Since then, Lacrosse has teamed up with two more schools for sports.

For small towns like Lacrosse, high school sports are a big deal. They kinda define the town. So, mixing with other towns was tough for some folks. Teams we used to compete against were now part of our own team!

But guess what? It all worked out. People got to know each other, and our team became a bigger “we.” We still felt closer to the kids from our own town, but we also realized that we needed the other towns too.

Nowadays, a lot of people define themselves by their political party. They cheer for their own “team” and sometimes ignore the bad stuff that their team does. But in Lacrosse, we knew we were more than just Tigers. We were:

  • Humans
  • Americans
  • Catholics
  • Methodists
  • Lutherans
  • Seahawks Fans
  • Quilters
  • Hunters
  • And so much more!

Focusing too much on one identity can make us forget about all the other things we share with people on different “teams.” When that happens, life starts to feel smaller. We lose sight of what really brings us together.

So, as we get into the political season, let’s remember we’re not just “Tigers” or “Democrats” or “Republicans.” We’ve got a lot of ways to identify ourselves. If we forget that, we lose the biggest identity we all share: being human.

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