Get off the Stands, Get in the Game

One of the realities I became present to this weekend was how much I complain.


The chatter in my head is intense, as my brain incessantly works to create meaning and to filter the world through my own lens. Unfortunately a component of that chatter is complaining. I became so aware of my soap boxes, my pet projects, and relived memory after memory of me complaining, slandering others, debating ideas and feeling justified in my own ways of thinking and being.

Among other things, seeing my complaining more clearly helped me to gain clarity on what complaining does and doesn't do.

Complaining says, "Life happens to me. I'm the victim. I'm stuck. Why do they?..."
Complaining doesn't "do" anything. 

If the Seahawks lose their next playoff game, there will be lots of complaining in Seattle. Seemingly everyone will have a story about what went wrong, what should have been done, how sad it is that these  happen to us... and nothing will be done. Not by the 12th man anyway. Because they are in the stands. Barring transformative action, life will continue as usual, only with a cloud of disappointment and stories and complaints hanging over the atmosphere. Because the outcome was decided...
In the game. 

If the Seahawks win their next playoff game, there will be lots of cheering in Seattle. Analysis will pervade. Triumphant songs, parades, chants, car-honking and shenaniganizing will abound. Even so, the outcome was decided on the field. 
In the game.

I realized in a new way this weekend how I had been a fan in the crowd for an opposing team, complaining about the circumstances of the game, complaining about the behavior of the other fans, and ultimately frustrated with where I was. Feeling stuck, scattered and unsure of how to be and what to do. I realized that the way forward isn't by changing teams, switching uniforms or by yelling louder. It's about getting in the game.

I'm tired of my own complaining about my circumstances, the people I'm with and the decisions that other people make. It causes me to view others as smaller people. It dis-empowers me in the process. It accomplishes nothing, except for the sad possibility of taking others out of the game by the racket on the sidelines. This is the way of cynicism and resignation. This is the way of complaining. This is life in the stands.


I'm getting in the game. To move others with my words and actions. To create possibilities and outcomes. To live in touch with reality, in touch with the others, aware of my own capacity for inaction and moving forward with action. Life isn't static here, it's dynamic. Life isn't simple here, it's complicated. Life moves here because we move. We can create the possibilities for ourselves and others to thrive, to succeed, to dream and to do... but only if we're in the game. 

Get off the stands. Get in the game. 

Benjamin FaderComment