I grew up male near Buffalo, New York., USA. It was only natural that I identified as being a Buffalo Bills professional football fan. I started following the team just before Super Bowl Number One. If the Bills had only beaten the Kanas City Chiefs, they would have been the first Americium Football League team to play a National Football League team for a championship. It didn’t work out that way.
As for baseball, I wanted to root for the New York Yankees. They were the best team in major league baseball history and I lived in the state of New York. My friend Bill cued me in to the fact that the part of the State we lived in was many miles closer to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania than to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. I had to identify with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
This was made easy by the 1960 World Series. The Pirates had little chance of beating the mighty Yankees, until Bill Mazeroski hit a home run over the wall at Forbes Field, in the bottom of the tenth inning of game seven.
So, in 1961, when I traveled to see my first professional sporting event it was across the border to Pennsylvania. I, like many men, hold dear the memory of my father introducing me to the awe-inspiring expanse of a professional sport stadium. I knew that I was home, even before the Pirates had won the game.
In the over 50 years that I have followed both the Bills and the Pirates, I have had my moments of glory, on the few occasions that they had their moments of glory. Mostly I have been proudly associated with two teams that are know for being epic losers.
The Bills deserve this title the most. After years of futility, they were one field goal kick away from Super Bowl immortality. The football went wide right. The Team came back to the Super Bowl the next threes years in a row. Losing by a large margin each time.
The win/loss records of these two teams, doesn’t make me a loser though. I have many other affiliations. I am typing this article on an Apple computer, with my iPhone at my side. I am not PC.
I am a registered Democrat and have seldom voted otherwise. I believe in democracy.
I don’t mind scary clowns. Lawyers and politicians can easily creep me out.
I used to believe in cars with American name plates. After too many wallet-draining repair jobs, I now am Japanese all the way. My son totaled a Toyota and a Subaru, without even a sore neck. These brands have brought us closer together as a family.
The coffee that is fueling this writing is made from beans ground at home just before brewing. I would have it no other way. Okay, sometimes I can’t pass up a good price on a bag of pre-ground coffee. I also identify with being cheap.
I am a NewYorker. Have been all of my life. No, not that kind of New York City New Yorker! I am Upstate, NY all the way. Whenever I listen to Bruce Springstein sing born in the USA, I bob my head. I like many kinds of music, but prefer rock and roll.
I have a big bushy beard, but I am no Hipster.
I just am old enough to no longer believe in the unnatural act of shaving. I am an AARP member and proud of every senior discount I can get.
I, like most of my species, identify with my species in general and with the males of my species in particular. I am far from being an Alpha male type, but I do look up to them. I prefer Batman over Superman. It is hard to identify with having x-ray vision and being able to fly without any assistive technology.
I have great respect for Wonder Woman.
I am a momma’s boy who took up the female dominated profession of social work. My mother and my former livelihood are a bigger part of me than the Buffalo Bills. An individual diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, collecting Social Security doesn’t sound like me. I think that will take some more time.
I am proud to carry on my father’s name. I feel good saying I am the son of Leslie, who was the son of Seneca, who was the son of Philetus, who was the son of William, who was the son of William, who was the son of George, or something like that.
I get a little cautious about feeling good about being of White Anglo Saxon Protestant, (WASP) heritage. Sure the Scottish are known for their invention of lynching and their belief that feeling disrespected was a just cause for murder, but my people are know for their thrifty ways and the best tape ever made, with the possible exception of duct tape.
It would be interesting to know more about the family that I received my middle name from. I was intrigued recently by reading about the 13 families that some say rule the Western Hemisphere. One of them is the Sinclair family. I don’t identify with oligarchy, but maybe that’s just because the Sinclairs never let me in on the action.
I must have grown from a different part of the family tree.
I tend to agree with those who suggest that when it comes to power, those who identify as Alpha males and their extended families, have the most of it. What they do with all that power isn’t always so nice and kind. I identify with nice and kind.
I know that of all my identities I like the one of being unique the most. That is the club I can never get kicked out of.
It is so easy to get caught up with identifying with what I “Like” on Facebook and with what I just have to “Comment” on. Social Media provides endless opportunity to understand who I am in the form of posted opinions that remind me of who I am not, good and bad.
On the goodmenproject.com website, I can join in on the conversation as to how men are defining themselves is changing more rapidly than ever before. The take home message of The Good Men Project site is that any identification other than unique, has the potential of becoming a stereotype.
Stereotypes limit perception. Perception can limit the realization of potential.
Rooting for a team, or a candidate, or a celebrity can be entertaining. Being loyal to a team, a company, a tribe, a religion, can be self fulfilling. Membership in a group can have its privileges and it’s limitations, its mutual aid and protective benefits and its vulnerabilities.
Sometimes a man feels that he knows best, who he is, when he adopts or drops a group affiliation.
I believe that I found out about myself went I began to identify as a Good Men Project writer, with a unique writing style. As for the Buffalo Bills, this just might be my year.
Photo credit: Getty Images