The following is a guest post from Sam Prince, 107IST, TA, and Riveters volunteer.
I moved to Portland not for the soccer, but for my dream job. Opal School, a then flourishing charter attached to the Portland Children’s Museum was, at that point, one of the most progressive schools in the country. The teachers at Opal were brave, entering the school year without a set curriculum in mind, following the children where they wanted to go.
I was less three years into my career as a teacher, still a baby by the standards of that particular field. There were a lot of moments when I was incredibly frustrated. A child acted in a way I did not expect. A lesson bombed. A colleague gave hard feedback. In those moments what I wanted to do was to lash out or tune out. I wanted to react, to end the interaction or get space, I wanted to be heard and then for the moment to be over.
During a meeting with a mentor, she revealed a concept that, though incredibly simple, changed my whole outlook. She asked to ask questions when I was feeling dissonance.
“What makes you say that?”
“What does this bring up for you?”
“Can you explain to me how you got to that point?”
Very often the act of reflection in the moment, of staying in the moment, allows there to be more nuance than we thought there could be. Asking questions takes this tiny, loud instant and allows us to examine its nooks and crannies. Very often the extremes of feeling made so much more sense.
The last day, and really the whole season, have been spaces of massive emotional shifts. We’ve interrogated the players, the club, each other. We’ve tackled massive issues that transcend sport and go into organizational policies and personal values. Both clubs have had massive wins and devastating losses, but if I’m honest it seems inconsequential to what is taking place off the pitch.
I’m begging you to stay in inquiry here.
When there’s big news and someone or something is not what you expect it to be, please ask questions before jumping to conclusions. If something seems out of character for an org you’ve known, or even been a part of, wonder why. Silence is sometimes people trying to figure out what to say, and making sure they say the right thing. It isn’t complicity or an admission of guilt.
We have to have each other’s back; we have to believe the best in each other as supporters.
There are folks out there who would love to subdivide us now. The more scattered we are, the more segmented, the easier it is to ignore us. The more unified we are the more powerful we become.
Today is a game day and the Cascadia Cup may come home. I cannot wait to be in the stadium with you. Let’s be loud, let’s be heard.