Last week, I was deeply grateful for the opportunity to go to the Super Bowl. It was a quick 42 hour trip, but we were excited to see our Cincinnati Bengals in the big game.
It’s been amazing to see what the Cincinnati Bengals have done for our city. In a time of such division, we came together. The Bengals gave us all something to believe in. Someone to cheer for.
The weeks leading up to the Super Bowl were filled with spirit weeks and enthusiasm. Our flight was filled with fans wearing their gear, strangers talking to strangers about team. Many could be heard saying, “Wow, I just can’t believe it. We are going to the Super Bowl!”
It did feel surreal. It’s not that we didn’t think they could do it. It’s not that we didn’t think they deserved it. What you have to know about Cincinnati is that most of the fans are from Cincinnati. Many of us grew up watching the Bengals. Many of us were very young the last time this happened.
I hadn’t allowed myself to imagine that I would get to see the Bengals in the Super Bowl let alone attend a Super Bowl where the Bengals would be playing.
Every time we saw a fan at the game, there was an unspoken understanding. We would smile, nod, share a “Who Dey” – there was a sense of togetherness. And after the game, there was a shared sadness. Still proud of our Bengals, we would say something like, “We will get them next year.”
I can remember looking around at the magnificent beauty of SoFi stadium and thinking, “What I’m experiencing right now will be something I will remember for the rest of my life.” It was special.
When our flight returned, we made the drive home and passed many neon signs that read, “Thank you, Bengals. We are proud of you.”
We need more of this. In Cincinnati. In this world. We need more that unites us. We need more reminders about how special this life is and how fleeting these moments are.
Because the truth is, we won’t always have a Super Bowl year. We won’t always get to take the trip. And yet, there is so much good all around us every day if we take the time to see it and celebrate it.
We have students and teachers who deserve big neon signs that say, “Thank you. We are proud of you.”
Our classrooms don’t have big stages and national recognition. But I’ve seen what teachers can do, it’s worthy. It’s worthy of epic level celebrations.
While we may not have Super Bowls for teaching and learning, we can make sure we tell these stories. Our stories. Stories of what kids and teachers are accomplishing every day – despite it all.
Write that tweet. Send that email. Have that conversation. Do whatever you can do share the good word.
Not only will it give others the energy they need to keep going, it will give the rest of us a reminder that are there really good people in this world doing really good things.
We could all use a little hope. Spirit weeks are nice. Super Bowls are magic.
But so are people.
Do whatever you can to find the hidden gems of potential in other people and celebrate and nurture that potential, so they can go on to accomplish their Super Bowl.