Common Ground?

Last week, I got a glimpse of what the world might look like if the opposing sides of the abortion debate were able to truly come together - not judging or labeling - and listen to each other.

My daughter’s soccer team played their last game of the season. It was a night game, the first night game I can remember in the two years she has been playing soccer. Making it more unusual, they were playing a parochial school in our neighborhood, less than a mile from our house. 

The evening started off with a good part of the girls’ soccer team congregating at our house for pizza before the game. The girls’ laughter filled not just our yard but our neighborhood as they climbed into their cars to head over to the game. The neighbors smiled, remembering their high school days, and waved good-bye and good luck as they drove down the street. 

I gathered my boys and our dog and we made our way through the neighborhood on foot to the game. It was a gorgeous fall evening. 

I had never been on the campus of this school before that night. I was surprised to see so many families at the game. I go to as many of my daughter’s soccer games as I can, but I had never seen a crowd like this before. It was like a huge tailgate party. 

My daughter’s team (the Mustangs) had played this particular team earlier in the season. It was a highly competitive team and the coach for their opposing team was especially loud in his coaching. As soon as I heard his thundering voice, I remembered the last game we played against them. Oh yeah, I thought, I remember THAT team.

The game started and I found myself feeling very alone in a sea of home team parents. My little dog didn’t know the difference between the home team supporters or the other side, though, and it wasn’t long before we made friends with the families seated on either side of us. 

Both sides played hard. At some point during the first half, I noticed that the home team’s parents would cheer for our Mustangs when they made a good effort. “Great job, Keeper” or “Nice pass, Red” were common praise that night. When the girls collided or knocked each other down, more than once I saw an opponent help her up and back to her feet. 

We lost the game by a score of 4-1. But that didn’t matter when it was all over. Photographs taken of the team that night after the game show that spirits were high, smiles beaming broadly. We were the opposing team on foreign soil, but what the girls and those Mustang parents on the sidelines supporting them felt was not separateness but togetherness. There was richness in the spirit of the event that night that brought the community of ALL observers together I have not felt in other games before.

That night left me with a feeling of hope for what we can achieve in a world where we give support to those around us, where we don’t cut someone down because they oppose us, but where we appreciate and accept them for who they are. I believe there is common ground for both sides in the abortion debate. Maybe one day we will be able to come together, without judgment or righteousness and truly make some progress for women and children in the world.  


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