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Each Monday, Tommy Tomlinson delivers thoughtful commentary on an important topic in the news. Through these perspectives, he seeks to find common ground that leads to deeper understanding of complex issues and that helps people relate to what others are feeling, even if they don’t agree.

On My Mind: Finding Your Tribes

Tommy Tomlinson

I am part of a fantasy football league that has been together for going on 30 years.

I am not going to say we are geeks. You will have to decide that for yourself. All I will say is that some of us have T-shirts with the names of our teams, and also, our league has not just a trophy but a championship belt, like something Ric Flair would wear.

I’m afraid I already know where you have fallen on the whole geek question.

We see one another once a year, at the draft, and we talk a little trash during the season. But when there’s no football, we don’t talk much. Until last week, when our commissioner sent out an email asking how everyone’s coping with the virus.

Scott is fixing up his deck. Randy’s wife still has to go to work at Costco. Roger is catching up on comic books. Perry, who has worked from home for years, said he had been practicing social distancing all this time and didn’t know it.

There was no earthshattering news, which was just fine – the earth is shattered quite enough right now. It was just nice to catch up with the members of one of my tribes.

We’ve all got tribes – groups we belong to beyond our family and immediate friends. Maybe you have a book group, or play on a softball team, or belong to a Sunday school class. You’re probably missing some of those folks, and they’re probably missing you.

It’s easy to let those looser ties fall away when we’re all so concerned about the people closest to us. But all those little groups give us something, even if it’s just a break from our daily troubles. And you might have noticed, these days we’ve got a head-high stack of daily troubles.

Not only that, small moments trigger big memories. Just a few emails from my fantasy football crowd and I started thinking about all the terrible draft picks we’ve made over the years, like the time one of us meant to draft a kicker but instead drafted a punter. (For those of you not familiar with fantasy football, a punter doesn’t do you any good.)

It was a stupid little thing to think about – of course it was, because a fantasy football league is a collection of stupid little things. But it took my mind off the rest of the world for a few minutes. Go find your tribes. And let them take you away.

Tommy Tomlinson’s On My Mind column normally runs every Monday on WFAE and WFAE.org. It represents his opinion, not the opinion of WFAE. You can respond to this column in the comments section below. You can also email Tommy at ttomlinson@wfae.org.

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Tommy Tomlinson has hosted the podcast SouthBound for WFAE since 2017. He also does a commentary, On My Mind, which airs every Monday.