Last evening my wife and I went to a DU volleyball game; it was the team's first real home game of the year. We had learned to really enjoy volleyball last year, and had been looking forward to the fall for some time. We were not disappointed. It was an exciting match, and DU's ultimate victory (3-0) was the icing on the cake.
As Coach Mahoney said in a post-game tweet, the atmosphere was fun. And a lot of what made it fun was the presence of several of the other teams. Last year the men's swim team became de-facto cheerleaders (with a twist -- you'll have to attend a game to see what that is!). This year, the swim team was joined by the men's basketball who did their level best to distract the opposition. Given the fact that they were all dressed like refugees from a Jane Fonda or Richard Simmons aerobics video, that the other team was able to focus at all was a testimony to their training and focus. And then the gymnastics team, on the opposite side of the floor from us, was cheering loudly and doing cartwheels in the bleachers when we scored. Members of the Athletics administration, most of the fans, and we were smiling broadly throughout the match. It was fun; it was joyful.
After we got home, I was reflecting on the mood of the evening. The smiles. The laughter. The excitement. The joy. Joy. An emotion, or feeling, that we probably don't feel enough these days. The economy, armed conflicts abroad, a combative election season-all often serve to keep our mood, individual and collective, subdued.
I wonder what would happen, if we were to seek out, or work to create, more experiences of joy for ourselves and others. I know that I slept better last night than in many days. I awoke more refreshed, and with a better outlook for the day to come. So, I wonder if that infusion of joy could be compounded. That is, if there were more experiences, more often, my inner compass would re-orient slightly.
A ponderable. Can we cultivate joy?
One thing's for certain! Many more volleyball games this fall!