Trying to choose a side
So it’s the Olympics.
The children and I have been waiting for the Olympics. The Little Professor and I for the men’s and women’s hockey and the Sassy Saint to see how the Nordic countries do. (Sass has developed a strange fascination with Nordic culture and history lately.)
We were discussing whom we were going to cheer for, and you won’t be surprised when I tell you it didn’t go well.
“The Olympics is for nationalistic jingoism,” I said. “We are cheering for Team USA.”
The Professor muttered something about building commonality through sports or somesuch. I didn’t really hear him.
“I should buy us some of those little American flags,” I said. “It would be really cute if you kids had some American flags to wave while we watched the Olympics.”
“Norway is the odds-on favorite to win the Olympics,” Sass said. “America’s odds are 12 to 1.”
“Are you looking at an odds-making site? Besides, how do you ‘win’ the Olympics?”
“By winning the most medals.”
“Those are ridiculous odds. Is that right? Let me see.” I’ve got to monitor her Internet usage better if she’s eyeballing bookmaking sites.
Sass lifted an eyebrow. “The Nordic countries always do well in the winter Olympics. Especially in the skiing events. The Nordic people are born wearing skis.”
I didn’t point out the impossible logistics of that, because I didn’t want to steer the conversation down that channel. “The Nordics can win the skiing events if they want, but they can’t win hockey.”
“Team Canada is going to win hockey,” the Professor offered.
“Team Canada is going to win the silver medal. Team USA will win gold.”
“Team Canada is really good,” he said doubtfully. “They have Sid and Kunitz and a bunch of Blackhawks.”
“You’re not allowed to cheer for Team Canada.”
“But I like Team Canada.”
“You’re not Canadian. Not even close. You’ve never even been to Canada. Why on earth would you cheer for Team Canada?”
“I like their players.”
“You can’t name their entire roster.” Never mind I would have to look up Team USA’s roster, I can at least name a dozen of them off the top of my head.
“They have Sid,” he said firmly.
The pro-Penguins propaganda evidently worked too well.
“Yes, and we cheer for him when he’s playing for the Penguins … not when he’s playing for Team Canada.”
“Because we’re Americans. Besides, Team Canada got a gold medal last time. They should take turns and share.” I had been preaching taking turns and sharing for far long than I had been touting the Penguins.
“It doesn’t work like that,” he said. “You have to win it.”
“Being overly nationalistic is a sign of fascism,” Sass added.
“It’s bedtime! Go to bed!” You would think they would have learned not to argue with me, because I hold all the trump cards. Teaching them to question authority was so much better in theory than in practice.
The next morning, Sass skipped down the stairs and announced, “Momma, guess who won two more medals while you were sleeping and moved into first place?”
“I can’t guess. Who is it?”
(Wallace-Minger, a resident of Weirton, is the community editor of The Weirton Daily Times.)