In the Old West, the phrase “riding for the brand” referred to loyalty to the ranch where a cowboy was employed. Their identity was tied to the name of the ranch, which often described the brand that marked their livestock, such as the “Lazy T.” When trouble came, it was good to know someone “had your back,” literally, a reference to gun fighting. The boys of the Lazy T would not put up with rustlers and banded together to protect the herd and each other. That is what riding for the brand meant.
During these modern times, loyalty is not out of style. We should be loyal to family, friends, employer, team, school, and country.
My wife and I watched the movie “42” about Jackie Robinson becoming the first Negro player in Major League Baseball. His own teammates were won over from loyalty to race to loyalty to him as a member of the team (who was being abused due his race).
It was heart-warming to see the change, especially when a white player told off the opposing white manager who was verbally taunting Jackie for being black. The teammate walked over to the other dugout and threatened that racist manager. He had Jackie’s back. Jackie and he were on the same team, riding for the Brooklyn Dodger brand.
We all treasure the feeling that someone has our back. Then we don’t feel alone, but part of a group that values us and protects us.
That is a good feeling.