Trash Talk: Getting Angry
Independence Day is just around the corner, and yet we, the people, have lost an unfathomable amount of independence and rights in the last couple of weeks. Between stripping people of the right to abortions with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, further eroding the separation of church and state, and providing more protections to guns than women, to name a few of the recent atrocities, it’s only natural to feel powerless.
Devastated. Sickened. Scared.
I am all of those things, but I’m mostly angry. I’m angry that the decades of progress our mothers and grandmothers fought so hard for could be reversed overnight (Or rather, overnight after two months’ notice followed by utter governmental inaction).
I’m angry for the people whose lives will be jeopardized or destroyed by carrying an unwanted baby to term. I’m angry that the girls whose trust and innocence was violated will be forced to spend the next nine months or longer bearing the consequences of someone else’s actions and atrocities.
I’m angry for the people who will face legal persecution over heart-wrenching medical conditions beyond their control. I’m angry for the people who unjustly lost their bodily autonomy because some people think that cells in their bodies have more rights than actual living humans.
I’m angry and terrified of where the U.S. is heading. While this country was supposedly founded on freedom, it’s clear that those freedoms, both then and now, only matter for some. And as we enter what some are calling “The Great Regression,” I’m afraid for my future and the future of people like me.
A future where almost inevitably, our freedoms will continue being taken away. I’m a woman. I’m a Mexican-American, a pansexual raised loosely Jewish, emphasizing the “ish.” I’m a person who is repeatedly reminded by those in power that I am not “one of them” and, therefore, they don’t care about me. But most importantly, I am angry.
Emotions are Superpowers
I have a complicated history with anger.
When faced with danger, the body typically responds with one of three actions: fight, flight or freeze. It’s our survival instincts.
I used to be a fighter. In fact, when I was younger, I was put in therapy to “control my temper.” That makes me sound like a tiny version of The Hulk, but as an adult, I recognize this was a very bad reaction to justified anger. And frankly, it didn’t “fix” my so-called temper.
What therapy did do, however, was change my danger response to freezing. And no, not in a cool way like Frozone. Over time, my natural tendency to fight for myself, to advocate for myself, was broken down so that when faced with danger, I did nothing. I could name a million and one instances of this, personally, professionally, with friends, family, strangers. Sure, I still advocated for myself when needed, standing up for my morals or what have you. Still, my triggered brain responded by and large with a paralyzing and overwhelming inability to do anything.
Keeping your anger in check can be good, like not screaming at your boss when they ask you the 18th dumb question of the day, and it’s only 9:45 am. But anger is still a vital emotion, especially when grieving.
It’s the stage of grief I always struggled with the most, after so many years of regularly being told I was too angry. And frankly, it felt pointless. Because you know what feels even more pointless than being mad at a dead person? Being mad at a dead person because they’re dead.
My emotions and my brain felt like they were at war with each other. One part of my brain said to embrace the anger-filled grief and go full-on Scarlet Witch. The other part said, “why bother?”
But emotions are superpowers. They are valuable, and they are valid. They make us human and give us the power of empathy. They bring us joy, even in dark times. They allow us to fight for what’s right. We should use our emotions to create a better present and future, where the lives of humans are valued and their well-being supported.
Let Me See You Get Angry
When wielded correctly, anger can be a superpower. Just look at The Hulk. And as anyone who’s seen “Inside Out” knows, anger often fuels greatness in sports, which is why I want to see these quarterbacks get angry this season.
Both have faced some challenges during their NFL tenure, but I believe that a bit of anger combined with their natural skill will help them shine this year.
Justin Fields (QB, Chicago Bears)
Like many, I was very excited about Justin Fields at the beginning of last year – maybe even more excited than most. But between the quarterback merry-go-round with Andy Dalton and the Matt Nagy Experience, the Chicago Bears were underwhelming, and Fields didn’t do too much to counteract that opinion.
His 1,870 passing yards ranked 31st among QBs, although he did outperform his teammate, 32nd-ranked Dalton, with 1,515 yards. His completion rate was also 31st in the NFL with 58.9%, although that looks pretty good compared to fellow-rookie Zach Wilson at 55.6%. Fields was also well-below average with his 6.9 yards per attempt.
Really the only stat where Fields excelled was his 420 rushing yards, where he blazed the competition and ended up with the fifth most. That’s just behind super-mobile quarterbacks like Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson in 12 games (Jackson’s 767 yards were also in 12 games). The film from last season backs this up – he’s a great runner, able to sneak and shake off defenders. But Fields also has a cannon, and his connection with Darnell Mooney was a thing of beauty.
His 2021 season had ups and downs, but his abilities and football intelligence were apparent, and I think a little anger will fuel his flashes of greatness into a flame. Fields is going into this season as the unquestioned starter, with a competent new head coach in Matt Eberflus.
While his wide receiver corps was downgraded with the loss of Allen Robinson and no big-name replacement, he kept his top targets: Mooney and TE Cole Kmet. The Bears as a whole have a lot to be angry about as they leave the Nagy-Ryan Pace era behind. Fields should take a sizeable second-year leap and be the golden ticket to saving football in Chicago.
Russell Wilson (QB, Denver Broncos)
Russell Wilson is a top-tier talent, with top-10 fantasy finishes in all but one year in his 10-year career. He was also top-five in half of those. That one year outside the top 10, his only losing season, was last year, when he finished as QB16.
Wilson started the season strong but returned from the finger injury, looking more like “Mr. Limited.” Although he ended the season on a high note, racking up more than 25 fantasy points in each of the last two weeks, his production was down in 2021 with 3,113 passing yards through 14 games.
Where he shined, however, was his 7.8 yards per attempt, which was top-five among starting QBs for the year. If you remove his too-early return in week 10, he was third with 8.3 yards per attempt (and yes, I realize I’m cherry-picking that data).
Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy, the Broncos’ top wide receivers, aren’t too far off talent-wise from Seattle’s 2021 duo of D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. But the Broncos have more depth with Tim Patrick and some other dart throws (KJ Hamler, anyone?). Denver also has pass-catching running back Javonte Williams, who had 43 receptions in 2021, the 13th highest among RBs. Even Melvin Gordon caught more passes (28) than any of Seattle’s RBs (DeeJay Dallas had the most, with 16).
Wilson clearly had a bad year in 2021, both with injuries and generally struggling Seahawks. Yet, with a little fire (likely in the form of motivational quotes), he can come back in 2022 and live up to his “Unlimited” moniker.
I want to see Fields and Wilson use their less-than-ideal or, dare I say, bad 2021 seasons to fuel their anger and show everyone that they’ve (still) got it!
Thanks for reading! If you like my kind of trash, you can find more on Twitter @trashsandwiches.