Why don’t people go crazy for social justice like they do for sports?

When I’m not touring I live in Montreal, and as those of you who follow hockey know, the Canadiens have had a very good week.

Every time the Habs make the playoffs, the city goes insane. You can feel the energy leading up to the games. Every other person is decked out in their Habs gear and excitedly discussing their plans to watch the game. During game-time bars and living rooms alike are filled to capacity with people anxiously watching every play. And when the Habs win, downtown Montreal is taken over by a nearly maniacal fervor. People flood the streets cheering and screaming, strangers hug, high-five and dance with one another, and a surprising number of people shed tears of excitement.

But if you look carefully, it gets a little strange. People who wouldn’t interact with one another under normal circumstances – six-figure businessmen and beggars, mohawked teenagers and frail old women, elitist hipsters and  good ole boys – interact as though they are friends who are happy to see each other and share this experience together.

Regular readers will know that I am obsessed by the subtle elements that create connection between people, and clearly, the success of a beloved sports team is one of those elements.

Which brings me to a question that has been on my mind a lot this week: how can we bring people together for social causes, with the same passion and energy that sports (and in many cases, celebrities) bring people together?

Imagine the difference we could make if all of the people who were wildly passionate about sports, were also wildly passionate about raising the quality of life on our planet. We would have incredible momentum. I don’t think this is a pipe dream; I think that we can isolate the factors that make professional athletics so fever pitched and apply them to social causes. Though my research and thinking on the topic is admittedly young and incomplete, as it develops, I will be discussing it here in future posts. Until then – GO HABS GO!

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