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The Team Mentality

Updated on May 18, 2013

Everyone wants to be part of a team, which is completely understandable because no one wants to be alone. We haven't evolved as a species nearly as much as people like to think. We're taller, less hairy, and we walk a little more upright, and we stand on the shoulders of all the advancements humans have made throughout history, but all the same instincts are still there. Society has evolved light years since our ancestors figured out the wheel and how to make fire, but so much of what we do every day is still centered around being a member of the winning tribe. This made sense many thousands of years ago. Resources, namely food, were scarce and small family tribes were the way to go. When you're in a group it's less likely you'll be food for a lion. When you encountered a tribe that wasn't yours, fighting made sense. It was you against everything else. Kill or be killed. We were basically still monkey people.

Now of course I'm talking about the civilized world. In some parts of the globe, nomadic tribes still flourish to this day. We only need to look at them to see a mirror into our own past. They're small groups of a few dozen people just trying to survive and further the bloodline another generation. The men hunted to provide and protect the tribe. The women gathered plants and took care of the offspring. The guys puffed out their chests and the ones that hunted the best, protected the best, and that were the most dominant over the other men were the most sought after mates. On the flip-side, women with wide hips for safe birth, larger breasts to feed, and those skinny enough to flee from predators were picked to be mothers the most. Does this sound familiar to anyone? I could go much farther in-depth about how cavemen and today's man are strikingly similar, and why that is, but this is about unnecessary teams.

Survival depended on a smaller, sustainable, more mobile, tribe. Today we're the dominant force on the Earth. We don't need tribes anymore. Breeding isn't really much of a concern when 7 billion people inhabit the planet. So shouldn't this mean it's time to evolve to a new mentality? To further the species through intelligence and understanding what's around us to make a better life in an ever-shrinking world? Sure doesn't look like that's happening today. We're stuck in the past, content to try and always be part of the winning team. Afraid that the other tribe will conquer and pillage ours. Each side perpetuating the other in an epic battle of ignorance.

Lalalala....I'm not listening....
Lalalala....I'm not listening....

Democrats versus Republicans. Oh no! This is a biggie. Now I think we have a two-party system to create the illusion of choice, but that's not what I'm referring to here. I'm talking about the baby monkeys bickering between the two. You've got to pick a side. Why? Each side looks at the other as if it's pure evil. Where does that get anyone? I turn on the television and see so and so doesn't think legislation will be passed because the Democrats/Republicans, right wingers/left wingers, or liberals/conservatives won't vote for it. All because the other side wrote the legislation, or more importantly, just because their side didn't. Just because one side is winning doesn't mean the other is losing. Both sides cold win with a compromise. You know, the whole reason they were elected to office in the first place, to be a representative of the people. The faster people realize it's an issue vs. issue and not a good vs. evil debate the better off we'll all be.

Try looking at Congress as spoiled kids only trying to get their way, because it's exactly what they're doing. The only differences are that they have infinitely more resources at their disposal and even more things to screw up. It's simply bone-chilling anyone would blindly side with one side or another. It's not a sport...

Have you ever listened to a couple of diehard football fans, or any other team sports' fans, talk about their team? We, us, I. Don't get me wrong, I've followed and rooted for numerous sports/teams since I was a little kid and I really enjoy doing it to this day (yet at a diminishing rate), but I'm also not delusional about it. We all know what fan is short for, fanatic. If you're a fanatic in almost anything else it's a terrible's a synonym in that fashion of radical . That's why I decided to use the words follow and root for. Now I know that the societal definition of fan has taken on a new meaning, I just wanted to point that out.

Back to the delusion. We're not a member of the team. I've heard and sort of understand the argument that fans can affect the outcome of the game through cheering and being very that proves it right? Well if it rains, snows, it's windy, rocks on the field, someone ate bad tuna the night before, a bird flies in someone's way, or a meteor falls from the sky...those affect the outcome of the game too. It doesn't mean that those things are a part of the team. They're a part of the environment. Weather doesn't take credit when a team wins or loses. If I have to pay a bunch of money to a billion-dollar corporation (professional teams are basically that) just to have the right to breathe the same air as the players being paid millions to be there, it doesn't seem like we're part of the same team does it? Again, I'm only referencing the ever-growing base of rabid fans here, so please don't bite my head off.

....and why does that matter at all......
....and why does that matter at all......

Fans take pride in their team. I've never totally understood that. You're supposed to take pride in an accomplishment, something you've done. We've already established you're not on the team, so what exactly did you accomplish? This doesn't stop some people from adamantly going way overboard trash talking others. It should. Is it really any different than getting in a fight and/or messing with someone else that decides to back a different company than you? Oh wait...

Chevrolet vs. Ford, PC vs. Mac, Playstation vs. Xbox, Steelers vs. Ravens? The last one is just as absurd as the rest. It's totally natural to completely dislike, vehemently, the competition if you're part of the company, and it's totally insane if you aren't. It's human nature. Backing a product you decided to buy and to be a fanboy/girl of is all too common. If you like one thing you bought and dislike another, I guess you know which one will continue to get your money. That should be it. It's not worth a blowout with anyone over. The only reason behind this that I can figure is you've put your hard-earned money, and transitively, your time/life into that product. No one wants to make a wrong decision, and even more-so, no one wants to admit when they've made a wrong decision. Because of this, you better proactively take the other guys down a peg to build yourself up just in case you didn't make the right decision. Be the biggest monkey so you can get the best mate. Stand tall monkey-man, you just bought a big TV!

All anyone has proven by purchasing something is that they did just that. They bought it. It's funny that in certain industries it's almost encouraged to fight for only your side like it's a way of life. Who decides that? I guess the bigger question is why don't we squabble over what brands of deodorant we use or what brand of junk foods we eat. They're important too. Well they're at least just as pointless.

Many good chips were crushed that day.
Many good chips were crushed that day.

But I get it, life can be hard, and we all need some distractions to pass the time occasionally, I just wish we wouldn't take it so seriously. It's much more productive, or should I say much less destructive, than constantly going to war over resources and land. Nobody does that anymore do they? Oops, sorry.

It seems as if we actually are slowly evolving as people from what we once were to what we will be. Right now, we're stuck in this limbo between the old ways and the new ways of thinking in society. It's quite the conflict, and it's a long and arduous one. I just hope that each coming generation can do it just a little better than the one preceding it. Build on top of what the last has done, just like we did. The neanderthal instincts probably won't ever go away, nor should they. They make us humans, who we are. Just as the trying experiences we all have as children and young adults make us grow into successful people, the dark times help the human race grow and become better than what we once were. If only we could decide that useless battles over teams aren't beneficial for anyone. Despite sounding like a complete hippie, I think the world has shrunk enough technologically for all of us to admit we're already on the same team. Maybe the next generation will see that if we don't mess things up too much for them.

There are much more important things to fight about...let's start with $4.50/gallon gasoline.


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