Tribes and Tapping Energy Into Action: On Newsfeeds, Local Sports Teams and Doing Something that Matters (1/21/15)

On Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks made a surprising comeback to beat the Greenbay Packers in the NFC divisional playoff game. I watched the game, and it was exciting. I went through the same emotional ups and downs as anyone else, from excitement and hope to resignation and cynicism to joyful enthusiasm. After “we” won, I went for a run around the neighborhood in the jersey I was wearing and got to hoot and holler with about ten different people something about the Seahawks. It occurred to me that I might never have talked to them, nor them to me, had I not been wearing that jersey. That jersey was an identifying marker. It showed that we belonged to the same tribe. A tribe that had just been part of something amazing. A tribe whose team was going to the Superbowl. Monday was no different, only this time I was on social media and was summarily overwhelmed with the trending news, nearly everyone had something to say about the Seahawks. 

Tribes are powerful. They give us identity, they give us a purpose. They funnel our energy into a shared experience or common event. From a local knitting circle to a sports team to a faith community to a political party, tribes are the vehicle by which we drive most of our action, and most of our conflict. 

After the game on Sunday I was left wondering: What would it look like for that kind of energy and action to be applied in another context? What would it be to have a powerful tribe built around the mission of transformation? What if all the same energy and enthusiasm that came from being in the stands for a professional sports team was applied to being “on the field” in the game of life for each and all of us?


There’s not anything intrinsically “right” or “wrong” about being excited for a football game, but it showcases the actions of a few select people rather than calling us all into action for something that matters. What does it look like for us to all get into passionate action where we are? How do we tap into that energy? 

Benjamin FaderComment