Life Lessons

Where Loyalties and Rivalries Dissolve…

Me not working hard?
Yea right picture that with a Kodak
Or better yet, go to Times Square
Take a picture of me with a Kodak.
Took my life from negative to a positive
I just want y’all know that
And tonight, let’s enjoy life.

Pitbull, Nayer, Ne-Yo
That’s right.

Tonight I will love love you tonight
Give me everything tonight
For all we know we might not get tomorrow
Let’s do it tonight.

Give Me Everything performed by Pitbull featuring Afrojack, Nayer and Ne-Yo

LAST WEEKEND, another weekly column subscription popped up in my Gmail inbox. My fellow teacher and columnist Jaime Richards had proposed to write a column on how “blind” loyalties can be destructive to people, how they can lead people to follow a sports team, a cause, a philosophy, a religion, or an organization just because other people around an individual do (usually without giving the very idea much thought in the first place). I agree with Jaime’s stance. People can be genuinely loyal, and people can also be capable of being blindly loyal as well.

It is hard to distinguish the two since they are both forms of loyalties and well, let’s face facts. There are times when genuine loyalty can be mistaken to be fake loyalty. Genuine loyalty can be disguised under a “phony” guise. It happens. We as human beings are naturally judgmental of everything we observe outside and inside of ourselves. It’s bound to happen whether one likes it or not, even if you try so hard to fight this habit. Believe me, I’m human too. I’ve tried to fight this instinct before and it always comes out as a sheer 50-50 chance of making choices and choosing to either speak out and say something that might harm someone else’s self-esteem or not.

I try extremely hard not to though. I hate being a hypocrite. I dislike trying to say that someone else is a douchebag. Sure you may get on my nerves but I’ll resist the urge to say that you might be one.

The point is just don’t be one.

Unlike most other guys, I have a genuine sympathizing heart, mind and soul. I’ve been through strife, turmoil and pain as well. I know firsthand what it’s like to get hurt.

Perhaps you guys can relate to experiencing pain. If you can, then we’re on the same level here.

In my last column I described what it means to let go of past hurts and pains—perhaps pain that’s been lodged in one’s heart for long durations of time. I know the process can be extremely difficult. It’s easier to hate than to come clean and forgive. It’s easier to scream and rant and dwell with that pain inside of you. It’s easier to scorn at someone whom you dislike for any sort of reason there may be.

It’s easier to do all of those things but it’s also easier to be loyal to your affiliation, your team, your posse.

For the past four years of my high school career I have constantly heard how much ranting and competitive animosity can arise between rival high schools (and rival sports teams). At high school Homecomings and other miscellaneous events, the crowd goes berserk when Mission Man (Mission San Jose’s mascot) loses to Irvington, Kennedy or American high schools. The booing and hissing grows and swells until MSJ’s hero can sneak past its rivals, grab the prize and bring home the gold for Mission San Jose High School. That’s when the crowd cheers. That’s when we feel proud to be Warriors.

I am therefore no stranger to this kind of loyalty. I’m proud to be a Warrior as well.

But would you call this blind loyalty? Perhaps some might, others perhaps not.

Regardless of how you interpret the events and the emotions though, I have over time taught myself to lay down some of my pride even for my school to reunite with old friends and classmates from other high schools in the district.

Tuesday afternoon, I attended Irvington High School’s graduation ceremony for the senior class of 2011. As I witnessed the processions taking place I’ve heard numerous times how the Vikings are proud of their own achievements and goals as a class and as a school collectively.

Now I don’t mean to bash here but I felt no affiliation with Irvington whatsoever. It’s because I realize I’m not a part of that school.

But the good news is I was still friendly enough to embrace old friends I haven’t seen in years.

As soon as I got down to the field I quickly ran to greet friends and classmates I’ve last seen in elementary school.

Fortunately most of them still remembered and was able to recognize my face, my body and my somewhat lumbering gait. I’ll be honest here.

Still the entire moment was such a remarkable experience. Almost instantaneously I felt my Warrior pride subside in my heart and in its place old and seemingly lost and forgotten friendships had rekindled. My fireworks had gone off inside my soul and I smiled, laughed and cheered for my now Irvington buds.

We talked, knowing that we haven’t made contact in so many years. We’ve laughed, knowing that the spirit of our childhood days had been buried over time but the flame never extinguished. At times we’ve even cried, realizing the surreal sensation just hitting all of us.

Finally, we’ve smiled knowing that it was great to be at each other sides’ again, best buds and classmates for life.

Have you ever had that sensation before? That sensation of a good old-fashioned reunion with family and friends?

If you never have, then I’m going to tell you straight up: you are definitely missing out big-time.

If I’d ever have to give a piece of advice on life in general, I’d suggest this: “There are many things in this life on planet Earth that are potentially fleeting. But in order to fully experience and treasure these moments before they’re gone for good, you must experience them firsthand. You’ve got to be the person in the arena.”

Well thank goodness for photography, camcorders, the Internet and social networking sites for capturing all of these jubilant memories. Otherwise we couldn’t remember them all and we can’t relive them twice either.

Fortunately enough for me I’ll always remember the moments when I was standing and strolling out there on the field holding my buddies close to me for a photo, a quick conversation and a quick opportunity to get together once more.

Time is limited. Time is fleeting…we have to make the most of it now while we’re at it.

It’s time to tear down the barriers and loyalties that divide us as people.

It’s time to become a melting pot again.

It’s time to make new memories and rekindle old ones.

It’s time to celebrate!

Congrats to both the MSJ and Irvington Classes of 2011!

We all made it through, I can hardly even believe it!

Hats off to everyone this year! We’ve all deserved this moment!

Just remember carpe diem.

Enough said.

~ A Fellow Columnist, Josh Chen.

P.S. Be sure to check out Jaime Richards’ column Balancing Loyalty.

Thanks guys! I LOVE YOU ALL! 😀

2 comments on “Where Loyalties and Rivalries Dissolve…

  1. I suggest adding a facebook like button for the blog!


  2. Felix Chow

    It’s harder to forgive for some people more than others. It’s even more impossible to forget, because although you may not remember that specific incident, it’s embedded into your soul. But yes, in general, it is easier to hate than to ask for forgiveness. I love how you bring up MSJ and Irvington as examples, because although we’re rival schools, we’re still high school students. During the NHL Playoffs, obviously tensions and emotions can run high between team rivalries. But in the end, when a team wins a series, it’s the traditional handshake, the “Good job.” and the “You did great.” or “You tried your best.”, that inevitably brings the two teams together. That’s why I love ice hockey. While you and the other team are working your asses off to win the series and be one step closer to winning the Stanley Cup, hockey is a great representation of great sportsmanship. In the end, everyone’s a great team player, on and off the ice.


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