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Everything’s the Best Abridged: On Rivalries

It feels like it’s been a lot lately.

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Liverpool FC v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

The pace of the past two months has felt quite breakneck, personally. And I am quite stunned to look up and see that we’re a week away now from the first day of November.

Some of the feeling is owed to things in my own life - work has never been busier and I am more than a bit perturbed by that. Some of it is more global, with tragedy piled on tragedy. It is asking a lot, I fear, to pay witness to all of it.

Football feels like a small reprieve, though there are certainly both fans and players that are undoubtedly feeling the pressure of all of the happenings, too. Where it feels like a privilege too precious to own when we can say that we find solace and sanctuary in a game, knowing there are those whose very identity necessarily politicizes them in ways we aren’t.

Football has been a bit of a reprieve but even that’s been moving at a clip I didn’t expect. We’ve now been through two International Breaks and find ourselves just one more removed from the biggest fixture on the schedule. In the meantime, we’ve already crossed one derby game off the list. Time keeps churning on.

Football as a diversion begins to feel thin and melt away when I turn it back against the things I’m trying to avoid; cheap like a bauble bought at the Hudson News or whatever airport gift shop you happen by. Rivalries in the sport, by extension, feel minuscule.

Everton’s Bill Kenwright passed away yesterday, known for speaking strongly in support of the Hillsborough movement for justice, despite the deep rivalry. His words, recounted by Liverpool’s official site, remind me that there are moments when folks are able to remember the commonalities they hold with each other. That there are things that bond us deeper and more strongly than the forces insisting we don’t belong to each other.

Here I am, on the eve of another chapter to be written in the story of this season and all I can think of is this deep longing to work towards a moment of that understanding: that solidarity isn’t just a buzzword, it’s a necessity for humans to endure. When that moment comes, I sense I’ll feel the world stop spinning. And, even if for only a minute, I’ll soak up that moment of joyful pause.

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