If I was a smarter man, or at the very least, a man of better timing, I would have written this article last year. Last year when the subject of this Signal Fire was just a few measly points away from completing something called a Quadruple, a feat almost unheard of in Premier League football (soccer, to all you still calling it that…yes, you too Pulisic, blah) and anywhere else in the sporting world. This year, well, things are different, but in a way, maybe it serves as an even more potent example and testament to what I’m about to talk about. Maybe, the fact that my passion burns as brightly as it does when the object of my passion is performing poorly speaks even higher to the fundamental belief I carry, than easily supporting them when they’re on top of the world. Maybe. Nevertheless, today, I wanted to pop in and discuss not just Premier League football (just reiterating again, this is football as it is to the rest of the world, not the concussion-fest that is American football), nor my favorite team, but something deeper, something much more important. Today, I want to talk about a lesson I’ve learned over my years on this planet, and it is this:
We need more PASSION on this planet.
Yep, and I don’t just mean the afternoon delight variety, the snuggle into the sheets and get nudey type. I mean passion spread like a fire over so many different things. We need passion, and we need more people unafraid to be passionate. Somewhere along the way, society, social media, whatever, began convincing us that to care about something is to make yourself vulnerable in a negative way. That putting yourself out there, that truly loving something outside of yourself, was opening yourself up for a world of hurt, of betrayal, of sadness unparalleled. Yes, it can be. But yes, my dear ones, YES, it is worth it.
For me, as I’ve been mentioning ad nauseam above, a source of passion for me has been for years, Liverpool Football Club (hereafter referred to as LFC so I don’t have to type it or say it so much). I’ve loved this team for years, through a lot of intense heartache, as there were many, many pockets of years where our beloved team was absolute and total rubbish, and up to the highest highs when we (and I say we because I feel part of the team, in the way that all nerdy passionate people feel part of their passion projects) finally won the league after not doing so for 30 years. I love them the tune of waking up at 5am many, many Saturdays throughout the Fall, Winter, and Spring, because they are playing a day game in England, which means it’s on at the ass-crack of darkness before dawn here. I love them because I have watched them in bars in Ireland, on radios in rental cars on the way to airports, in Airbnbs in the middle of nowhere Scotland off my iPad. I sing the songs, I wear the sweatshirts and jerseys on game day for luck, I follow the transfer signing rumors, and I even send tweets about it during the game. I’m a nerd, a huge, glorious, unashamed nerd for LFC, and the kicker is, I don’t even really care about any other sport, ever, besides it. Here’s the thing: This is ok. No, this is more than ok. This is VITAL.
I have met many a person over the course of my life that I can honestly say, when prompted, pushed, or prodded, cannot name a single true passion for anything specific. They don’t have anything they love so silly and hard that it might seem crazy to others, they don’t have any single bizarre hobby, interest, desire, or ache for something outside of themselves. They ride the little line that runs straight down the middle of life, not too hot, not too cold, the Goldilocks zone of agreeable and safe. Not one to ruffle feathers, they say, they are diplomatic to a degree of invisibility. What then, when the time comes to stand up? What then when we’re called upon to fight for what’s right? They are those that will not, that Homer Simpson themselves back into the hedges on the edge of their driveway. Vanishers, these, and to be frank, they break my little red heart.
I wonder of these sorts often, and wonder mostly about the trickle down effects of living without passion. I wonder how it stains their relationships, if it prevents them from demonstrating or displaying their affections towards the people they spend their days with, I wonder if it manifests as ambivalence towards others, if they struggle to be in relationships at all. I wonder about them at work, at school, at any situation where you’re defined by the beliefs you fight for, the opinions you defend. They are those of chameleonic skin, those that wear many faces for the many masses they encounter, and whilst some see that and think how lovely and diplomatic that is, I see it as nothing short of political posturing, about always needing and wanting to be liked or approved of by everyone else, and I see the root cause as being similar across the board: A lack of passion.
I’m not saying your passion has to present as an undying affection for an English football team, or a burning love of opera music, or for alpacas that like to dance, or anything like that. I’m just saying that in my humblest of opinions, we could all do with a lot more passion in our lives. If that needs to start with something simple, if you all want to jump on board and learn more about why LFC Is just a worthy source, I’m happy as a pig in shit to introduce you to that, but it can be anything, it can be any time, as long as you have it.
Me, personally, I have many passions and they are strong. I won’t bore you with a long list of them, I won’t dive into those that you can already explicitly recognize through this Signal Fire alone. Point is, I hope you have them, I hope you love them with a reckless abandon, I hope you realize just how silly they are, but then continue feeling passionately about them anyway.
Our society somehow devolved for a lot of years into some vanilla ice cream middle of the road nonsense, and I’m tired of the pressure to mute the edges of our emotions. We need more passion, we need people to be louder in the fight against injustices, as loud as those assholes on the other side of the human-rights fence, and if that means starting small with a hobby, a football team, a television show you’re obsessed with, music you cannot possibly live without, fine. Start with the joyful passionate expressions, move on to the passions that will spark change on this planet.
We need more passion, so much more of it, and I am putting this call out to all of you beautiful souls, because I know you, I know the types of passions you’ll pick, and I know that it’s this kind of passion we so desperately need. Your kind. The kind, kind.
For you who do have them, who hold on tightly to some silly thing, illuminate us all…what are YOUR passions? Share them with us. For those who want to join me on the LFC train…I’m here, always waiting, and You’ll Never Walk Alone.
and all the forms it can take.
Scream for what you love.