Connections: Team Spirit

To get an idea about what team spirit means, all you have to do is go to the greater Boston area at Super Bowl time. I was there last week because my husband was a patient at the Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington, and everyone seemed to be wearing New England Patriots T-shirts emblazoned with the number 12 all weekend long. It was patriotism in two senses of the word. 

Although I was a twirler (you know, it’s something like a drum majorette) in a maroon-and-white outfit when I was in high school in Bayonne, N.J., marching onto and doing routines on football fields, I never paid much attention to the game; basketball was my sport. 

At the hospital during the Super Bowl, however, it was impossible not to recognize the spirit. Even I knew why the aides and nurses were wearing the red, white, and blue, and that 12 was the superstar Tom Brady’s number.

When I was first married and had become an East Hamptoner, we often went to Dartmouth football games, with or without children but always with great tailgate picnics. An outlier nevertheless, I once distinguished myself, if you can call it that, by jumping up and cheering loudly when a player ran down the whole field to make a touchdown. The trouble was he was on the opposing team. As far as I was concerned it felt good to cheer for a maneuver that was swift, graceful, and wily regardless of whose team he was on, and even if no one else on my side of the bleachers did. For me, it was simple appreciation; I didn’t care which team scored.

Such an attitude made me out of sync with my compatriots, but I was comfortable as an outlier, as much then as now. These days, for example, when I am among my husband’s large and talented family, I tend to stand with his brother-in-law, a man who is very much admired but whose background, like mine, is far afield.

Considering myself an outlier at The Star also has made it possible over the years for me to wear an editor’s hat. We decided it would be inappropriate for me to be a member of local organizations, even one noted for good works like the East Hampton Ladies Village Improvement Society. 

Suppose the society decided to do something outrageous, like, for example, tearing up the perimeter of Town Pond? I wanted to preserve the right to howl. Sure, L.V.I.S. members and the general public might well express opinions of disapproval, but at least no conflict of interest would be involved in what the editorial “we” had to say. I had a bully pulpit and think that was good enough.