I should know better than to talk politics, especially these days.
I’m sitting with two dear friends, who just so happen to be diametrically opposed in their political views. I had foolishly thrown out an offhand opinion, and an hour later, they were still jawing at one another. I was staying primarily out of the fray until asked for my opinion. There was no way this was going to go well.
I happened to agree with one friend far above the other, with only minor differences of opinion. That guy and I were probably less than 10% off of being exactly in line with one another. I waited for the other buddy to lay into me. He never got the chance.
See, 90% friend had already gotten himself into such a lather in the argument with the other guy that even the slightest difference from me was an affront. By the time he had spent 15 minutes dressing me down, friend number two had no interest in engaging. I responded, but it was pointless. It was painful and almost hilariously unnecessary. I spent the night with my feelings deeply hurt by the GUY I FREAKING AGREED WITH.
That has strangely become the modus operandi of modern communication, immediate escalation, emasculation, and evisceration. Recently, I’d dropped by one of our sister SB Nation sites last week to watch two commenters lob over 100 volleys back and forth, devolving into questions about each other’s intellect, knowledge, lineage, and prowess. The issue at hand? The height of the player they were discussing. They disagreed about the correct number by an inch, and seemed as if they might have cut one another had they been standing face to face. Happily the mods pulled the chat down after every reader within a 100-pixel radius was flagging all of the radiation burns emanating from the kerfuffle.
An inch. Death and destruction over an inch. I’d like to tell you I’d never seen an argument of that sort on these pages. I’d like to. Hell, I’d like to tell you that I haven’t found myself in the midst of an inch-long argument or three in the last month. I’d like to. Maybe not on this site, but I still cannot.
Odds are good you find yourself on these pages because you’re a Denver Nuggets fan, or someone who likes to stir the pot for Nuggets fans. If you’re neither of those, and read Denver Nuggets blogs for fun in the NBA offseason, I encourage you to spend some time outside. It really is pretty out there.
But because we are (almost) all here to celebrate the team we love or hate or love and hate, I’d wonder if we couldn’t measure our words a little more kindly in our inch-long arguments. It’s hard to not overreact in a world filled with massive overreactions, but it’s only basketball, and in theory, for fun. While we denigrate one another for the smallest of differences, we usually fail to remember all of the opinions we share. It’s a lot like our whole makeup.
Genetically, we’re 99.9% indistinguishable from one another, no matter what our shade or gender or intellect. We are so the same that it borders on insanity to hate each other for the .01. That .01 is actually the magic. No matter how alike we may look or seem, I am not the same as you. I’m just as different from the person who looks just like me as I am from the one who doesn’t resemble me at all. Even identical twins come to different conclusions, let alone those of us who come to this place via a different path than all the rest. I disagree vastly from many of my best friends in this world, and sometimes wonder how the hell they ever came to the crazy conclusions they did. But moreover, I love them deeply for expanding my horizons and ways of thinking and looking at things. I am better for it. Our differences are inches and millimeters compared to our miles and miles of alike.
So, whether you believe that Nikola Jokic is a demigod or a pretender, Michael Malone is the answer or may not even know the question, or [insert player name here] is the key or should have been traded away, take a pause when the person across the aisle doesn’t see it the same way. Hell, maybe consider not roasting him or her on a spit if you don’t like their rationale. It’s possible that this difference of opinion may not solve world peace, or even turn the tide of the upcoming season.
Give it a moment. Take a deep breath. It’s just basketball. Go Nuggets. Let it be.