The Simple Joys of a Hate-Watch

By Stevie G

I hate-watched the Toronto Maple Leafs game on Inauguration night. It was a simple pleasure, but a pleasure nonetheless. In the time of strife everyone has lived through this last year (and many had it much worse than me) it was simple things like that I have been unable to enjoy. There was always a dark cloud hanging over those events and no matter what I did, I couldn’t shake it. The cloud might dissipate for moments, hours at most, when life kept me busy, but it always crept back in. Whether at work, with the kids, a Zoom happy hour, or even during those few moments of joy when I actually saw a friend in person, it was there, because there was no where for it to go. Because even when something “good” happened, either in the micro or macro sense, there was always a presidential tweet-storm on the way to ruin it. Or a press conference where the easy political layup was missed (e.g. “wear a mask”, “Nazis are the bad guys,” or “hey, it sucks, but we lost.”) Or a comment by a flunky that incited violence instead of even attempting unity.  

The Transfer of Power that occurred on January 20th (thankfully peacefully considering the events of Jan 6th) doesn’t alleviate all of society’s ills. It is going to take years of work, planned by people way smarter than me to do that (hell, I needed to spell check the word ‘alleviate.’) And it is going to take a mindset of empathy and compassion from all Americans that, honestly, I don’t know if we are entirely capable of, especially right now. And most of all, it is going to take leadership, from the top-down, on both sides of the aisle, that demands accountability from themselves and their teams, to not only get things done in a way that makes us as citizens proud to be American, but also shows how every leader, in every facet of American life, should conduct themselves. The leadership aspect shouldn’t be an extraordinary ask from our top government officials, but after the last four years it seems monumental. I don’t know that Joe Biden is the person who is going to fix everything in this country (in fact, let’s just go ahead and say it: he’s not, though I do think he is a truly empathetic person), and I don’t know that the country will be completely healed in the next year or two, or four, but for the first time in a very long time I am hopeful, and the cloud has dissipated slightly.  So now I don’t have to worry about the Monday morning tweetstorm, and I can hate watch the Toronto Maple Leafs in peace for a few hours. 

(They lost by the way, because of an own-goal. It was glorious.)

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