The Land of Oz: This Country Needs Football Right Now

The Land of Oz is a monthly editorial piece of masterful opinionated writing (insert joke here) regarding life and times in the big town of Tuscaloosa coupled with the musings of a guy nicknamed “Oz.” The Land of Oz is a monthly editorial piece of masterful opinionated writing (insert joke here) regarding life and times in the big town of Tuscaloosa coupled with the musings of a guy nicknamed “Oz.”

Typically, when you come to my column, it’s to read my poor attempts at humor and maybe momentarily escape reality. For this one, we get a little more serious. 

As a general rule, I sidestep political remark as much as humanly possible. In this bizarre day and age in which we live, tolerance of others’ beliefs and values seems to be almost non-existent. Everyone seems to have an agenda, while almost no one seems to be willing to listen to dissenting opinion with an open mind. And that is a long-term recipe for disaster. 

What we can do as a “united” people to fix it all is currently the great debate. Your local first-world problem solver doesn't have a clue. 

What I do know is that I’m happy that it’s football season. And this is not an excuse to turn a blind-eye to the issues our country is facing, or to offer up some misdirection so we ignore the issue entirely. But rather, it’s an opportunity to bring us together as a nation which commonly enjoys sport and competition. 

When your football team takes the field on Saturday or Sunday (or Thursday or Monday), many of the issues that burden our society are magically put on the backburner. It doesn’t matter what color your team’s players are or where they’re from – it only matters what color they are wearing together. Black kids, white kids, Hispanic kids, and kids from all races and walks of life are brought together to play a sport that depends on teamwork arguably more than any other team sport in the United States.  

We don't judge our players by their background, or what their religious beliefs are, or whether or not they support the ideals of our elected officials. We support them without exception because they are on our team. We want to see them succeed, win or lose, and become productive members of society in the process. One way or another, all our differences are put aside, not just for a few hours on game day, but for the entire length of the season. 

That dynamic should serve as a reminder to all of us that the future and success of our community and our country depend on people working together. We see past our differences and strive to work together for the greater good, for the betterment of our country, and for the future of our children and grandchildren. 

We’re all on the same team. You don’t always get along with your teammates, but you do your best to work through the disparities. When you do, teams excel. When you don’t … they lose. 

I tweet insignificant things @ozborn34.           

Derek Osborn is the Executive Director of PRIDE of Tuscaloosa by trade and writer by hobby.  He lives in Tuscaloosa with wife Lynn, and their daughters, Savannah and Anica.   

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Derek Osborn

Executive Director at PRIDE of Tuscaloosa, the only  non-profit agency in the Tuscaloosa area that informs and educates the parents, students, and community about the use and abuse of alcohol and drugs.

Website: www.prideoftuscaloosa.org/

Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.