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Lessons in loving our enemies

By Darcy L. Fargo

Darcy Fargo

December 1, 2021

Everywhere we turned, we saw someone wearing a different team jersey or hoodie.

My son and I traveled to Cincinnati this weekend to watch our beloved Pittsburgh Steelers take the field against the Cincinnati Bengals. In addition to an overnight stop in Buffalo, Jake and I visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

While it wasn’t a super busy day at the Hall of Fame, there were probably a couple hundred people walking around the exhibits, outdoor field and gift shop. Of those visitors, probably 85 to 90 percent were wearing clothing representing their favorite team. Browns, Bengals, Bills, Steelers, Packers, Giants, Cowboys, Raiders, Dolphins, Bears, Chiefs… They all had fans there.

While there was a little bit of playful banter between fans of rival teams, everyone seemed to be legitimately enjoying being around a bunch of football fans. Everyone was chatting at the various exhibits. Since we were wearing Steelers hoodies, people kept pointing out Steelers-related items in exhibits we may have missed.

As we climbed back into my Jeep after our tour of the Hall of Fame, Jake exclaimed, “that was awesome!” When I pressed him to tell me about his favorite part, he said, “I loved talking to all the other fans. Everyone was being friendly. Even the Browns fans were nice to us. I didn’t expect that.”

While it was a bit sad to me that he expected people to bring their rivalries into the Hall of Fame, I loved that Jake noticed the joy that came with camaraderie with others, including people who may typically be viewed as rivals or enemies.

As we made our way from Canton to Cincinnati, I reminded Jake that I still had to write my column, and I noted I had no idea what I was going to write about.

“Write about everyone loving their enemies at the Hall of Fame.”

While we talk about faith in our home, and Jake attends faith formation classes and Guggenheim, he learned the joy that can come with loving one’s enemies at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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