It seems that every four to eight years, the newly-inaugurated president of the United States holds a speech revolving around unity.
Today, for President Joe Biden, that remained a primary topic of focus.
Our country has faced a lot of adversity as of late. Whether it was the protests and marches against racial injustice, the invasion of the Capitol Building just two weeks ago or the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that continues to rage across our nation, the people of this country have had to go through a lot these past 13 months.
For the average American citizen, adjusting to the new way of life was especially difficult. No longer was our outlet of release available. No more live sports on television. No more games to attend. No more packed stadiums.
Sports writers had to go through just as much. Socially-distanced press boxes, virtual press conferences and the absence of paper stat sheets became the new normal.
While we have come a long way since the days of no sports, we still have a long way to go. The coronavirus has not given up, but neither have we. While politically our nation might never have been more divided on even the simplest of issues, there is still one thing that unites the vast majority of us:
We are all sports fans.
No matter your race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality or political affiliation, we are all sports fans. Over the years, many of my relationships with fellow human beings have been because of sport. I couldn't be more different than many of my friends regarding my stances on various political or religious opinions, yet our friendships remain strong due to our bond through sport.
I think Americans could use more friendships like that.
Instead of focusing on what makes us different from each other, we should instead focus on what unites us. Too often do we dismiss one another due to our differences. It has almost become acceptable to shun or silence those that oppose our opinions.
Sport can certainly divide people. Heck, here in the state of Alabama we live amidst the most intense rivalry in college athletics. But more often than divide, it unites.
This day symbolizes a new beginning in multiple ways. For many, it symbolizes hope. For others, it symbolizes a renewed resolve and determination. For all, though, it should symbolize a new effort to unite.
In these trying times, it is easy to become discouraged. It is easy to lose faith. It is easy to see what makes individuals different and seeing those differences as flaws rather than what makes them unique. I, too, have struggled with this. At times it might be difficult, but I encourage each and every one of us to press onwards.
In the next 365 days, a lot is going to change in this country. 2020 is proof of how so much can change in such a brief period of time. The things we take for granted — like sports — can so swiftly be swept out from under us with little to no warning.
So on this inauguration day, let us encourage one another. Let us embrace that that makes us different. Let us go back to our roots and find common ground. Let us return to normalcy, united.
Because if you’re like me, you miss the biggest argument around the table at Thanksgiving being who was going to win the Iron Bowl.