I was in the Bronx Friday night at the Met Yankee game. Don’t ask. And for all the falderal it was quite civil. I didn’t fly my Met colors, nor did I instigate. I just did the late 1960s Fillmore West clap and watched me some hardball. One thing I took away from the game, though, was an insight that for all of people’s preferences, divides and loyalties – if you find a point of common ground more important, you can create dialog.
At one point during the national anthem I felt a 9/11 moment resulting from the video. It brought the entire stadium together as one (in my mind). It pointed to something bigger than a baseball rivalry. And on two other occasions during the game I spoke with a couple of guys who noticed my Pearl Jam shirt. We connected on something that was perhaps even more important to us than a baseball game. As I walked along River Avenue leaving the game, a guy quietly said in passing “Yellow Ledbetter.” I only half heard it until it registered, then I looked back and “peaced” him with a knowing smile. A brother.
The insight is this: You can always ladder up common ground or affinity with someone you don’t necessarily agree with. It takes work, and thought, and open-mindedness. It’s a hunt worth pursuing. So marketers and planner dig in. Peace!