Things I Believed When I was Young.

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– People in the olden days lived in black and white. This one is going way back though, I’m talking age 3-4 and it made so much sense at the time. I mean, the movies were black and white so why not real life? This was enough to convince my 3 year old self that this is a stone cold scientific hypothesis. Maybe, I thought my daddy’s generation invented the spectrum of colors; God knows really.

– “Power Rangers: the Movie” was an absolute tour de force. Yessir, I sure did; I loved that movie oh so very much. I just thought it was the greatest. The action! The villians! The Rangers! The wise Zordon! To my 5 year old brain it had it all. Truly, a shoe in for best picture at the Oscars. I still remember the time I went to the cinema to view this masterpiece and through adult eyes I feel a deep sense of empathy for my dad who had to sit through the whole thing with me AND pretend to like it.

– Oral sex involved talking. A more recent one from the pantheon of early teenage sexual misconceptions. It also shows how far my advanced powers of deduction had developed from age 3. An oral at school is talking, right? So like, that means oral sex is just talking…but dirty. This all just serves as another reminder that I shouldn’t much care to be 13 again.

– The daddy long-legs is the most poisonous spider in the world but it can’t use its venom because of its tiny mouth. A classic urban legend. I think everybody’s heard this one by now and I’m of the opinion that believing this story at some stage of your childhood is like a rite of passage; a test you gotta pass to call yourself a man.

– Santa isn’t real. I never, at any stage, believed in Santa. I called bullshit from the minute I could talk. My parents were also pretty half-ass in the effort they applied to make Santa real to me and my sisters. I can’t say I minded much, however; Santa’s always been kinda lame to me. I guess I don’t really get the appeal of telling kids that their homes are gonna be invaded by a strange fat man who arbitrarily decided whether they’re good or not.

– That sex scenes in film were for real. Another sexual one but this one is from about age 7. I was convinced that actors knocked boots fo’ realz during sex scenes. I didn’t believe anything else in films were real; just the sex. Turns out this one turn out to be true in a certain measure: pornography. Way to go 7 year old me!

– That South Africa is super cold in the winter. Before I lived in Ireland for 10 years, I thought the South African winter was freezing. 14 degrees out? Brrrrrrrrrrrr its cold yo! Turns out 10 years straight of freezing your nuts off in Europe will change that misconception. At the moment of writing this, I’m sitting in the Cape Town winter in shorts and a t-shirt. Winter? What winter?


When Two Tribes Go To War.

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Just look at this picture! It’s marvelous! It gets me every time. The passion, the gusto, the fact that everyone in this photo is lovin’ it. That’s not all that makes this photo so wonderful; it’s a great photo because it made me reflect and think.

I know it sounds ridiculous that such a seemingly whimsical photo could inspire any form of introspection but, alas, it did. It got me thinking about our relationship with our sports teams; the fact that we make such a massive emotional investment in what is basically a group of strangers playing a silly little game.

And that’s what sport is – a silly little game. But for some reason or other it is just so much more. Why is that? It’s strange that, in an increasingly globalised world, sport is the one thing where boundaries are not becoming blurred. When it’s time to compete, the borders between nations (or any other entity for that matter), which have become so fluid in this digital age of ours, become for that moment as staunch and real as a brick wall.

I think it’s because we’ll never get rid of our tribalistic inclinations. We want to be a part of a tribe; of a collective identity. The feeling we get from watching a group of people, or a person, representing us and our tribe is one that is such a natural and primal thrill that we simply can’t let it go. We live through these sportspeople vicariously; their success is our success.

And this is a good thing. Whilst we shouldn’t reinforce differences between our human family any more than we have, we should acknowledge that they exist and that maybe, every now and then, it isn’t really that bad to indulge our primal selves. So go nuts! Tattoo your teams emblem on your ass! Be proud of your community and the team that represents it. It’s yours to have and it’s yours to belong too.

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