We all know the cliques and the stereotypes that are attached to them. The band geeks, the Math nerds, the dumb jocks, the teacher’s pet, the English snobs, you’re well aware of them I’m sure. So this is not a post about those. What is the one thing that joins all of these groups into one fighting team? School Rivalry.
During school, we pick each other apart for our status, but come the football game on Friday–united we stand. We find ourselves chanting right alongside the bully that was saying these very things to us the day before.
School rivalry is a lot like a family. You can’t stand your little sister and pull the heads off of her baby dolls, but if anyone messes with her, you’re pulling off the heads of someone else’s baby dolls.
Because we are a part of our school, we think everyone within the school is a direct reflection of who we are as a person. The same goes with our family. We believe how our sister acts directly reflects who we are as a person. Even though we are two separate people, we are grouped together with one overarching stereotype. When the stereotype doesn’t match with our definition of who we are, we fight back and defend.
We are not defined by the stereotypes put on us by others. Have you ever noticed that all stereotypes have a negative connotation? So no matter what group we are placed in, we lose. We will constantly have to fight for our identity ifwe let the stereotypes define us. We never believe them deep down, but we fight against them as if they are true to prove ourselves.
Of course the only logical option here is to fight fire with fire. So we make accusations of our rivals and post snarky comments on social media. Anytime one of them messes up, we make sure to point it out so the rest of the group knows how we think of them: one-in-the-same.
But what if we stopped letting others define who we are. What if instead of fighting back, we showed them grace and compassion. If we really want to see them stop, we can’t fight the same way they do, it will only make a bigger battle.
“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt
The bigger person is not the one who proves the other one is less than. The bigger person is the one who turns the other cheek. We are human and we are going to mess up, and wouldn’t it be nice if someone showed us a little grace when we do? We often feel entitled to this grace, so shouldn’t we give it just as freely as we expect it?
Start believing the truth that you are not defined by the people around you, and it will be a lot easier to love the people across the field wearing the other teams’ color. Talk about a win-win.
Have you noticed how school rivalry has affected your life?