Monday, August 11, 2008

The Olympics Between Cultures Dilemma

Did you catch the amazing 400M swimming relay when the Americans barely beat the French? I'm one of those fanatics who shout at the screen as though athletes can hear through the barriers of space and time. The events are usually recorded on our DVR so I'm screaming my support while Cullen Jones and company are snoring in the Olympic Village.

But would I have been rooting as wildly for the country of my citizenship if France were the country of my origin? What if four Indians were swimming their hearts out against the Americans?

During the opening ceremonies, new Americans cheer when the stars and stripes enter the stadium. But most of us also watch eagerly for another flag. Is it possible to feel patriotic towards two nations at the same time, or is that oxymoronic?

6 comments:

kaekae said...

Sure it is (at least for little things like the Olympics - I wouldn't want to be a Georgian/Russian right now).
Times like that is when you just scream "GO GO GO" to no one in particular. ;)

Nyam said...

Hi Mitali! I don't know if you remember me, but I emailed you sometime back about writing opportunities in the SF Bay area. Anyways, in response to your post: I definitely think it's possible to feel patriotic towards more than one country--you just have even more chances for your country to win:-).

Mitali Perkins said...

I like that! You have more chances to scream AND more countries to call home. A much better way to look at it than feeling divided.

Aline Pereira said...

I always root for Brazil if a Brazilian happens to be competing against an American. My daughter, on the other hand, having been born here, has a hard time deciding who she should be loyal to -- her native country's people or her mom's people? I always need to remind her that it's okay to root for both. And that it's also very okay to be against mama's team : ) Hurray for independent thinking!

halseanderson said...

I am very late to this post, but I'd like to add my two cents worth.

Even though my father's family arrived from Ireland four generations ago, I always feel my heart beat a little faster when an Irish athlete is competing. And since I lived in Denmark for a year, I love cheering on the Danes.

And when an athlete from a tiny country is on screen, I cheer them on as loudly as I can. I particularly adored Bahrain sprinter Roqaya Al-Gassra.

Finally, I am an American, and I love my country and our people. When our flag entered the stadium, carried by a refugee, I cried.

Mitali Perkins said...

Meeting one of the brave "Lost Boys" always stirs my heart. I hollered and wept for the two athletes from Somalia, too.