On Being From Someplace

It’s what it is to be from someplace. You see, there is a place, and I am from there, and it is in every way my beginnings and therefore a part of my core.

They won a Super Bowl, so I’ve been wearing shirts that say “go team” because I’m from there. I’m from that place.

I can see the streets and the stores and the buildings. The parks, the rivers and the hills. I know those places all so well.

I know the people and the sound of their voices. I know well and affectionately the accent of that place. It’s the sound of my Aunt Ruth, my friend Cindy and my home town neighbors. I know their voices.

And I know they are all proudly sporting the home team colors: shirts, hats, pins, cups, pennants. Store fronts and homes are decked out with flags and banners, so every street bears witness to the excitement of the times.

In my mind’s eye, I can see it all. The kids in oversized football shirts, the old men wearing team hats, the cars flying team flags in the wind. Everywhere you turn you see the colors.

I can hear the eager conversations in the voices I know so well. In the stores. Around the dinner table. At the water cooler. Some people are nervous. Some are loudly confident. Some are giddy. Everybody is excited. Damn right, the home town’s going to the Bowl.

Then there’s game day. The preparations, the anticipation, the excitement. There’s only one thing happening today. You may do something else in the meantime, but you’re just passing time until kickoff.

Huge parties, small get-togethers and whole families gathered around the TV, all wearing the home town colors. And when our team scores, it’s exciting.

I can hear my brother-in-law, “Come on, come on…yes.” I can see my friend George raising his arms in victory. I can see my sister restlessly glimpsing at and avoiding the TV. She gets a little nervous about it. I can name 300 more people, and I know a thousand others.

When there’s a set back, there’s quiet disappointment, frustration and a few swear words. It’s a bummer, and it just feels bad.

In my mind’s eye I can see the home town kinship in the living rooms, bars and fire halls. I can see my parents, my family, my friends. I see the expressions. I hear the voices. I feel the ups and the downs.

I know it all. It’s at my core. It’s not about football. It’s an experience in being inseparably connected to something, to the place, to the people.

It’s what it is to be from someplace.