You'll never walk alone by Evan La Ruffa

I recently spent 12 days in Costa Rica for my little sister's wedding. I officiated the proceedings, it was beautiful, and so so happy. After the wedding weekend, we made our way to another location for more chillin'. I met a gentleman in one of the restaurants, who was wearing a Liverpool FC jersey (next season's away kit) and I immediately told him how great it looked as he walked up.

We chatted about my seeing a Liverpool game in the mid-90's that made me a fan forever. Robbie Fowler, 2 goals (a brace), on a rainy Saturday night at Highbury, the home of Arsenal FC.

We buddied up, and a few days later, this gentleman, Matt, walked up to me with a red flag rolled up in his hand.

He told me that the flag had been waved proudly in The Kop, the supporters end of Anfield, Liverpool's famed stadium. I got goosebumps.

He gave me the flag, and I felt as though I had been knighted. We've since stayed in touch, chat on Whats App, and I've been invited to join him at Anfield one day.

You may not be into soccer, and you may not care that Liverpool is gearing up for an important season, but the point to be made, is that a simple greeting can open the door to some really cool experiences.

One mere commonality can not only create connection, but it also validates the idea that looking for the overlap goes a long way.

What if our first thought was about the space where the Venn diagram converges, not the portions where it doesn't? What if we paired that with a smile?

If we're open to it, the lyrics are true... You'll Never Walk Alone.

Collective bargaining by Evan La Ruffa

Last weekend, Liverpool fans walked out of the fabled Anfield Stadium in northern England in the 77th minute of the match against Sunderland to protest the announced rise in ticket prices to 77 British pounds. En masse, over 10,0000 fans walked out to show their displeasure at ownership's approach to the economic future of the club.

As a fan of soccer and of sport in general, one of the obvious critiques is that we follow blindly. We rationalize any method that keeps the team profitable (public financing of stadiums, trading players that could help the team win for cash, higher ticket prices), and often times act as if we have no other option.

But we do.

As fans, as customers, as citizens, we vote with our wallets more than we vote at the ballot box. When Liverpool fans walked out of Anfield to protest ticket prices that keep the common fan on the outside looking in, they came together and showed their collective power.

Fenway Sports Group, the Boston-based (Red Sox owning) group that owns Liverpool Football Club subsequently announced a two-year freeze on ticket prices.

I guess we really can demand more from our businesses, leaders, & government...

But I think we're going to have to do it together.