Clinching Safety

I took the above photograph at the end of Sunderland’s 0-0 draw at Arsenal yesterday afternoon, which ensured that the Black Cats are safe from relegation this season. The caption, “Clinch safety,” is a simple statement within the context of the match, but it also struck me as a profound statement about life. Isn’t that what we all want, to be assured that we are safe, not just physically, but emotionally as well? It’s such a basic, plain graphic, but it was on the screen for at least five minutes, and I think the moment I happened to photograph it, which shows Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat crying with happiness, epitomizes its deeper significance. We watch sports to help us try to escape from the stresses of life (even though they often cause us more stress) because we always know that true safety is never really assured.

Published by danielshankcruz

I grew up in New York City and lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Goshen, Indiana; DeKalb, Illinois; and Salt Lake City, Utah before coming to Utica, New York. My mother’s family is Swiss-German Mennonite (i.e., it’s an ethnicity, not necessarily a theological persuasion) and my father’s family is Puerto Rican. I have a Ph.D. in English and currently teach at Utica College. I have also taught at Northern Illinois University and Westminster College in Salt Lake City. My teaching and scholarship are motivated by a passion for social justice, which is why my research focuses on the literature of oppressed groups, especially LGBT persons and people of color. While I primarily read and write about fiction, I am also a devoted reader of poetry because, as William Carlos Williams writes, “It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet [people] die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.” Thinkers who influence me include Marina Abramovic, Kathy Acker, Di Brandt, Ana Castillo, Samuel R. Delany, Percival Everett, Essex Hemphill, Jane Jacobs, Walt Whitman, and the New York School of poets. I am also fond of queer Mennonite writers such as Stephen Beachy, Jan Guenther Braun, Lynnette Dueck/D’anna, and Casey Plett. In my free time I’m either reading, writing the occasional poem, playing board games (especially Scrabble, backgammon, and chess), watching sports (Let’s Go, Mets!), or cooking (curries, stews, roasts…).

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