I attended a car “meet up” this past weekend. This was a “Cars and Coffee” type event where car enthusiasts gather for a couple of hours to show off their cars and admire those of other enthusiasts. These are great events to attend for the opportunity to look up close at such exotic vehicles as Lamborghini and Ferraris as well as “old school” muscle cars and Rat Rods. This isn’t a car show where awards are given; instead, it is a gathering of people from all walks of life who share a common love of cars. The types of cars garnering such enthusiastic devotion are as diverse as the car owners themselves.
A chance encounter with two such enthusiasts stood out to me in such stark contrast to what has been filling the media these past few months that I feel compelled to write about it here.
Unless you go through life like an ostrich with your head buried in the sand, or have been living in a cave until recently, you like me have been bombarded with stories in the media (print, broadcast, social media, the blogosphere, etc.) about race relations. Whites killing blacks; black and white policemen killing blacks; blacks killing blacks; police killing civilians; the Confederate Flag and what it means to blacks, to southern whites, to people anywhere and everywhere; demonstrations turning into riots over civilian deaths, etc. The list goes on and on, with a common denominator of race vs race.
We’re being bombarded by reports of what separates us.
What I witnessed at this past event showed me in the most basic terms, what unites us.
Two men, complete strangers to one another; one white, one black. One a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, one a Dallas Cowboys fan; one loves Dodge Chargers, the other Ford Mustangs.
On the surface, there is almost zero common ground for these two individuals. Right from the start, their race supposedly separates them. On top of that, add in cars and football? Other than politics and religion, there are no more polarizing activities individuals can engage in than cars and football. Fans of all walks of life live and die each and every Sunday as their chosen football team battles it out on the gridiron against “them”, the “other guys”. The ones wearing different colors than “our team”; the ones from “not around here” who dare to come to “our house” and threaten the success of “our team”. The bitter rival, the vastly inferior team if not by record, then by the character deficiencies of the organization, the head coach, the star player.