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What team do you cheer for?

Obviously, the Washington Capitals are the best hockey team in the National Hockey League. Even when they aren't.

The Washington Football Team is one that I often try to cheer on, but they are an organization that makes it difficult to like them.

Who doesn't love the Washington Nationals? Army beats Navy (15-0 amiright?).

And of course, I cheer on my son's hockey team regardless of their record.

But why do we care so much about grown men chasing around a 4-inch rubber disc while on ice?

What makes hitting a ball with a stick so intriguing?

And why do we care so much about the air pressure of an oblong rubber ball?

Objectively speaking, it is kind of silly. But as humans, we bond over struggle whether it is real or imagined.

It is why militaries through out the ages have had banners and uniforms, why people fight over religion or politics, and why I'm sure fist fights nearly started over Team Edward or Team Jacob.

People are inherently tribal.

The Afghans have a saying, "I against my brother. My brother and I against our cousin. My brother, my cousin and I against the outsider."

Think it is silly? What did you feel the last time you saw someone's bumper sticker with an opposing political view...

Which brings me to 2020.

Oh boy.

Well, sports is a bit hit or miss. We didn't get that distraction for a while because obviously, the human cost was too high and it took a while for organizations to learn how to safely resume their contests.

So before I get to the point, let's do a quick recap of some of the wonderful things that 2020 had in store for us.

2020 is almost in the books...

12 Days of COVID

Where does one even begin to describe this insane year?

It was already a bad start with Kobe, his daughter and their friends dying in a helicopter accident. Later, Chadwick Boseman and Ruth Ginsberg also passed. 

Even though World War 3 was trending on Twitter in January, we forgot all about it by March as a majority of the country started to hunker down because of the damned virus.

While we were all catching up on our Netflix binges (and I might have been the only one to skip the Tiger King), the Pentagon released information about Aliens in Area 51!

I wrote a letter to the folks responsible for this year on behalf of all 7.5 billion people of Earth.

To Whomever Wrote the Script for 2020:
Worst. Movie. Ever.
-The World

Obviously, 2020 hasn't exactly been some dark B-rate plague comedy.

Rather it has been hard, emotional, and often just sad.

While we got the chance to sit still with our thoughts, we laid bare so many issues within our society for the world to see. For us to see.

There is a great deal of it that is hard to acknowledge and face.

Speaking truth to power

If you have ever read any of my blogs on previous versions of our site, then you'll know that I'm almost through two years of recovery from alcohol, and I deal with PTSD, anxiety and depression.

(You didn't think this post was going to be all jokes did you? Surprise! -- Maybe I'll throw in a random fart joke like they do in Marvel movies to break the ai-- um, tension.)

Anyways... they, "they" being "Alcoholics Anonymous", say that the first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem.

It is repeated so often that it is almost cliché.

So let's rephrase it.

The first step to fixing your problems is to quit lying to yourself.

American has no more of a race problem than six-pack-a-night me had an alcohol problem... oh...

We also have a huge mental health crisis brewing with our youth, the virus has ravaged our population and the shutdowns have blown potholes in our economy.

Businesses have disappeared.

People are out of work.

Our healthcare system keeps getting beaten like a dude trying to flight Mayweather.

But if you are reading this today, congratulations.

You are close to the 2020 finish line.

There is not anything that will magically change when the ball drops in Times Square with the crowd of 45 socially distanced mask wearing well-wishers. But you will still have crossed a finish line of sorts.

In 2020, surviving is winning.

Even if you are out of work, you are still able to fight.

If you lost a loved one, you can still cherish their memory.

If you are in the trenches day in and day out at a cash register or a crash cart, you have the gratitude and respect of a society that may have taken you for granted only a short (but really friggin long) year ago.

Get to the damn point already!

The greatest amount of growth comes from enduring and overcoming pain and struggle.

The year 2020 will be seared into the minds of many for decades.

Many will want to turn the page and never look back. That's fine. But others may learn that this year was trying to teach us something, and we would be wise to learn those lessons.

Personally, I think 2020 has been trying to teach us "empathy" (for you first timers, I like this word a lot).

First, give yourself some grace. Be kind to yourself and take some time for yourself. Seriously. (You wonder women out there who work three jobs and then also wrangle kids at home included.)

Second, give your neighbor some grace. And your neighbor's neighbor. And your fellow American.

We are a very diverse nation with a complicated history. It isn't all apple pie and baseball.... it is dark. It is ugly. It is brutal. It is triumphant. It is bold. It is us.

We need to stop lying to ourselves about our history and just face it, warts and all.

Without facing those hard truths, we can never truly come together as a nation and celebrate our collective triumphs.

Third, let's say it together, "2020 sucked." But while it sucked, it sucked for nearly everyone in some way shape or form.

I have a friend of mine who is a millionaire, and he lost his teenaged son this year due to mental health.

Our own Dan Burges, lost his marriage and his ex-wife, and is now a single-dad (ladies, he can win a Gerard Butler look alike contest... just saying).

My wife lost her mom to cancer just a month ago.

And a childhood friend of mine is fighting for his life in the ICU after contracting COVID19.

While not all of these event were COVID related, they were all impacted by the virus in some way and ironically, this gives us an opportunity.

Itsy Bitsy Spider

Think about the nursery rhyme.

The spider is climbing up a wall. He gets knocked down. Then he gets up again.

And you're never gonna keep him down... sorry wrong song, but now that I also have Chumbawumba stuck in your head, let's wrap this up!

What do we do with all of this pain and struggle from 2020? Where do we go from here? What lessons have we observed that we need to start learning?

Well for Ricks Roasters, we didn't stay still and wallow in the suck this year.

It would have been easy to do though, and if we did, you likely wouldn't be reading this post on our website now.

Turn 2020 from a terrible year to a one where make gains from your toil, struggle and pain.

Basically, make it a good year at the gym. Gym mantra applies: "No pain. No gain.

Then cheer on Team Human.

Remember that every person you meet from now on has some story about 2020 that has left an impact on them, and you have one too.

That shared experience puts us on the same team.... (unless it is the Naval Academy!)

Oh yeah... this is a coffee website, so here is the obligatory coffee sentence for SEO purposes! Just kidding... but not really.

Oh... and props to the mail carriers buzzing around at 6am on Christmas Eve!

Go Humans, Beat COVID.

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