On Thanksgiving, Americans travel more than any other day of the year, in order to sit down and eat with people they love. A forum inspired by fighting might seem an odd place to celebrate love and friendship, but it’s not.
Fighting is famously in our DNA. But love and friendship developed to make fighting and aggression work for us. Without fighting in our DNA, there would be no need for humankind to develop the capacity for deep friendship, and above all, for love.
Sam Sheridan explains in his great "A Fighter's Heart" relating pioneering academic research on aggression by Nobel Laureate Konrad Lorenz.
“[Lorenz] talks about geese and says that two furiously aggressive animals must bond and live together in a small space, all without weakening intra-species aggression. They have evolved inhibitors, behavior-changing devices, that turns the aggression they normally feel toward others of their species into something else when they mate.
“The same thing, although in a more complex way takes place among men and women of the same tribe or family, bound together for increased success against the outside world. Lorenz writes that friendship is found only in animals with "highly developed intra-species aggression," and goes on to say that the more aggressive the animal, the deeper the friendship.
'The ability to love and form bonds has evolved as a way to temper aggression, to turn it into something more powerful when defending hearth and home. Friendship and love are essentially evolutionary by-products of aggression. Men and women who form these deep bonds - who evolved ways to mitigate interspecies aggression - have great success in passing along their genes.”
398 years ago, the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag came together for the first Thanksgiving, and there was fighting, naturally. They feasted on venison, popcorn, and possibly wild turkey. The original colonists that day included William and Mary Brewster, and their sons Love and Wrestling. The historical record shows that the settlers and the Indians wrestled, for days.
Thus this is a fitting a place from which to wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving.
Thanks first to all the men and women in uniform serving our country, and those of our allies, so far from home in theaters of war. You are heroes to this sports' heroes, and to the rest of us.
A special shout out to those of you cutting for a fight, for who the feast is a piece of skinless turkey and a several green beans, no butter. I hope everybody wins, I really do.
Thanks from the bottom of my heart to everyone who comes to The UnderGround and The Otherground. Thanks to the fighters and the fans. Thanks to the 01ers and the noobs. Thanks to the homeless and the prosperous. Thanks to the insightful and the trolls. Thanks to the mods and the muds and the blues and the rouges and the greens. Without each of you, this place would be what my high school wrestling coach said was the most worthless word in the world - potential.
A friend of this sport is a friend of mine, so If you haven't got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit digitally next to me.