Let’s begin with Inside Out. It’s hands-down one of my favorite Pixar movies (though I’ll likely say that about each one) because, unlike many of them that try to focus on happiness, it shines an important spotlight on sadness and grief. It centers around five different emotions (Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust) and their day-to-day routine inside the head of Riley, an 11-year-old from Minnesota (and avid hockey player) that is forced to move to San Francisco with her mom and dad.
Early on in the movie, Joy, the ultimate protagonist, says, “Alright everyone, fresh start! We’re gonna have a good day, which will turn into a good week, which will turn into a good year, which will turn into a good life!” The majority of emotions in Riley’s head agree with her, but Sadness has another plan.
Once Joy and Sadness are essentially booted from Riley’s subconscious and forced to find their way back to
“headquarters”, Riley goes through a tough transition while unable to access two primary emotions and eventually resorts to planning to run away from her new home.
Throughout the movie, Joy begins to learn the importance of Sadness. While she had become accustomed to brushing Sadness off and putting her in a corner as often as possible, she begins to realize the benefits of her counterpart. That leads her to letting Sadness control Riley’s thoughts and actions in the most important scene of the film, which eventually leads to a beautiful resolution (and they lived happily ever after, in other words).
In life, we so often forget the importance of sadness. We are so focused on creating joy on a daily basis that we forget why sadness and pain exist. They exist to remind us that life involves hardships, and those hardships in turn help us fully comprehend and appreciate the good, happy times when they reappear.
Through two weeks with no sports, you’ve likely experienced some sadness, confusion, or loneliness/emptiness. That’s natural. Writers don’t know what to write, producers and creators have nothing to create, and fans have nothing to yell about in a time of year that is usually overflowing with sports content.
In an unprecedented time like this, it’s easy to keep looking for joy and trying to avoid the sadness. But sometimes, you just have to let the sadness catch up to you and embrace it for what it is.
Now, I’m not recommending that you throw a pity party and sink into a pit of despair. But while the absence of sports is tough, it’s a reminder of just how good we have it when they are up and running. Joy is always fun and brings a lot of positivity to our lives. But Sadness brings depth and helps us fully remember all of the good we have going in our lives and just how much it should mean to us.
Let’s remember to not take it for granted while we continue to do our part in neutralizing and stopping the spread of this pandemic.