The Benefits of Community

By: Carol McClain   carol_mcclain

The first home game of the Tennessee Vol’s football team would be played at Neyland Stadium. East Tennessee was awash in orange. Orange and white checkered cargo pants and t-shirts, dorky flags on the windows of cars, tailgate supplies. You know the drill–whatever goes with football went on in Tennessee. Only it went on for only the Volunteers.

Even those not crazy about team sports–professional, college or leisure–love the Vols.

Everyone knew this was the day Neyland Stadium would be checkered. With your ticket, you were instructed to wear either orange or white. The effect for the cameras was a checkered stadium. No one moaned and wore purple or green or (heaven forbid–Alabama red). We are East Tennessee. We are Volunteers. We wear orange and white.

And if you were liberal, gay, conservative, evangelical, atheist, polygamist, red/blue/republican/democrat–none of that mattered. We were a community in love and happy and celebrating our shared culture.

And for everyone, the sense of community, of loving the same thing, of pulling together and celebrating the potential of an easy win. (No fear. We won 59-3).

Community is a lost tradition at this time. It once was prevalent. Even if we went to different churches or no churches, voted to the right or the left, none of that mattered. We were Americans. We pledged the flag, believed in Democracy, had block parties and community firemen fairs. We worked toward common goals and instructed our children to be polite, obey our elders and speak civilly and we tried to do as we instructed our offspring.

As community faded to harassment and shouting matches and slams against our country (Governor Cuomo even stating that America had never been great), we lost a sense of wonder and friendship and civilization.

The Volunteers don’t matter in the scheme of life. However, pulling together and celebrating our commonality makes living so much better.


  1. You are so right, Carol. The idea of community is fading and, instead, we’re focusing on what divides us. This has been true several times in my life. Racial unrest in the 60s, divisive wartime in the 70s, and polarizing politics. But, on my street and in my community, there are more things that unite us. We still come together for these things. If we cling to these, we can work together to restore the “community of our nation.

    • Carol McClain says:

      If we treat each other with respect, the person who disagrees with us will listen. Through dialog and humility, we will follow the truth and not opinions. Thanks for stopping by, Sherry.

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