I’m not really what you call a “sports person.” I can’t tell the difference between a hockey run and a basketball goal, and have trouble distinguishing between offense and defense.
Took me a while to notice, but apparently there is some sort of worldwide soccer match going on. I must admit it was Twitter that cued me in -- all those little colorful flags next to the country name hash tags piqued my curiosity. So for all you sports fans out there: please keep my sports-obliviousness in mind for the remainder of this blog post. I literally have no idea what I’m talking about when it comes to sports.
But cheering, now, that’s a different matter. I have some experience with this. Tell me which team you want me to go nuts for, and by golly, I will do it. I don’t pretend to be a true sports fan; I’m in it for the yelling. I’m a pretty enthusiastic person and will basically take on any opportunity that will let me flail my arms and scream my little heart out. An equal opportunity cheerer, if you will.
It’s interesting to take note of the twisty allegiances that second- and third-generation Americans feel for their countries of ethnicity when it comes to World Cup team support. There’s a powerful sense of “my country versus… my other country.” It’s a complicated relationship.
This Facebook posting by one of my best friends sums it up nicely: “My brother texted me the other day while I was at work: ‘we're up 1-0!!!’ and I had to ask him who he meant by ‘we’....Korea or US? And which am I really, really rooting for?” It’s a good question, but one without any obvious answer.
It’s worth keeping in mind that so-called hyphenated-Americans are not the only people who root for countries other than the US. Maybe you will root for Ghana because you studied abroad there. Or maybe you’ll root for Greece because your grandpa’s from there. This is why I find it a bit uncomfortable when people call immigrants who hold on to their nationalities as being “un-American.” Unlike the majority of other nations, we are a country made up of immigrants. We’re proud of where we came from, and where we are now. Maybe having multiple allegiances is a very American quality to possess.
As we make our way through the third week of the World Cup, this is what I want to know: whom are you rooting for and why? If you consider yourself a hyphenated American, do you root for the hyphen or do you root for the American -- or both? Do you think it’s un-American to root for a country other than the US?