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Leave It On The Pitch

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

I used to play a lot of rugby when I was younger. Rugby is a great game. It’s physically challenging, requiring both strength and endurance. It’s the ultimate team sport; there is no way for one person to dominate a game that has 30 players and no blocking. It requires chess-like strategy—and maybe even some head games.

I used to play inside center, so I’d usually get the ball pretty early in the match. I got in the habit of taking my first carry straight into my opposing defender. There was no trying to dodge him, no looking to pass; I was going to tackle the tackler. I was going to destroy him, and when we went to the ground, with guys piling over us, I’d spit in his face and tell him in colorful language what a long day he was about to have.

I wasn’t there to be nice; I was there to lead my team to victory, period.

Of course, it was rugby, so we’d all finish the day drinking beer and singing songs together, regardless of the outcome. That’s just tradition. Rugby was a huge part of my life, so it’s a little funny to think how many great memories I have with people who I met by spitting in their eyes.

The whole point is that we always “left it on the pitch,” and I’m hopeful our country can do that this Wednesday. Everybody’s been trying so hard to win for so long, but in order to have a functional society, we’re all going to have to quit spitting in each other’s eyes at some point. In this great country, with 44 million immigrants, that’s home to 45 languages, that has 41 million Spanish-speakers, that is spread out over 3.7 million square miles and across 50 states, well, look, we’re just not ever going to agree about anything, are we? At some point, we’re going to have to set those differences aside and be civil again.

I’ve always been pretty jocular in my approach to politics. These candidates are all so corrupt that I’ve never given them any more respect than the picks on my fantasy football team anyway, and that may be part of it. More importantly, though, I appreciate that we all pretty much want the same things and just have different approaches to achieving them.

I reckon that anybody planning to stay up late Tuesday night watching election returns for anything more than the sheer sport of it is probably not an entirely responsible person because, unless you’re a bureaucrat, this election isn’t all that likely to change your life much.

It may change the news that you watch, and if that makes a big difference in your life, I’d say that you watch too much TV. It may make a difference of a couple of thousand dollars a year in your healthcare expenses and taxes, but if that makes a huge difference in your life, I’d say that you’re over-leveraged. It may make a difference in how you invest, and if that makes a huge difference in your life, I’d say that you’re not properly diversified. I’m hopeful that we can all take responsibility for our own real problems and quit blaming our neighbors for how they voted.

As I write this early this morning here on my lanai on the north shore of Kauai, I’m reminded by the sounds of the birds chirping and my children laughing that politics is indeed just a game. I’m going to make my kids some banana pancakes, and because it’s important to me to be a good dad, I’m going to top those pancakes with crushed macadamia nuts. Then I’m going to go for a surf because it makes my body feel good, and it’s important to me to take care of my health. After that, I’m taking my family for a horseback ride up to a local waterfall because spending time with them is everything to me. So, go ahead and vote for whoever you want; the winner is not going to affect my life all that much.

This trip has been a timely opportunity for a personal reset-- a reminder of what's important. For most of us, our relationships will be our legacy, and I'm focused anew on them. It is no coincidence that I booked our return flight for the day after the election, and I will definitely be leaving all these political arguments on the pitch that day. When I get home, let’s drink beers and sings songs together.

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