I had an existential breakdown and all I have to show for it is this stupid t-shirt

I surprised myself by totally getting into the World Cup earlier this summer. Upon reflection, I think it was mostly an extension of missing L.A. and the diversity that it offers. I felt a wave of excitement and relief when Univision would pan the fans in the stadium. Oh, look! IT’S THE WORLD.

I share that as an example of how team sports can unite us. I get it.

That aside, I’ve been struggling lately. I’m not going to sugar coat it. I’ve been having a hard time with our bucolic town, our oddly blonde campus.

Example #1 of 1

I’m walking by the track as a group of student athletes finishes practice. I notice a young man in a t-shirt. On the back, in all caps it says: EXPECT TO WIN.

I can’t overstate the despair I felt when reading this t-shirt. Anyone else? Does it gross you out a little bit? Or does it make perfect sense as a psychological imperative for athletes? Does my recoil speak to why team sports freaked me out when I was younger? Or at least explain why they weren’t a match for me? Or is it a reflection of more, of the entitlement some athletes feel? Of capitalism?

Seriously, this t-shirt got me down. I wonder, if our campus didn’t often feel so homogenous, so privileged, if it would have hit me the same way. It’s an honest question. I mean, would the t-shirt have any less impact in L.A.? I dunno. Do you?

I’m interested in your thoughts to any of these questions, or your own examples.