Filed under: WTFlux
I can’t remember which event we were watching. Maybe it was gymnastics, their bodies flipping over themselves to land on a 3.9 inch surface of the balance beam. Or it was springboard diving, women launching into a pool and carving small splashes.
“When you watch this do you root for the Chinese?” DanE asked. I think he may have even asked if I secretly rooted for the Chinese, as if I worried that he and the dog would judge me for not being patriotic.
“No, actually,” I said. In fact, I’m always interested when the Medal Count chart comes onscreen and I see USA in the first slot. Sometimes I think I am secretly patriotic.
I think I root for the American athletes because I know their stories, at least I know the stories featured in the short segments shown in between competitions about their trials and tribulations. I’m a sucker for stories, especially about underdogs on their road to gold medal glory. In comparison, the Chinese athletes mostly look like two-dimensional somersaulting, diving, table tennis whacking, volleyball lobbing robots with short unflattering haircuts.
Even though I might not be cheering them on, there is a part of me that identifies more with the bowl-haircut Chinese robotrons. When I was a kid, when my brothers and I would get into trouble my dad would sometimes threaten to send us to China for the summer. I didn’t know it then, but there was no way my family could have afforded that kind of punishment, but at the time it seemed like a real possibility that we would have to live in a small village without electricity, McDonald’s, or WCs with holes in the ground in lieu of toilets- which is a first-world child’s version of a work camp.
The notion that my folks would ever pay for me to flop around a mat in a magenta leotard so that I could pursue my dream of being on a Wheaties box was never possibility. While the likelihood that had I been born in rural China, and had been vetted and tested to show promise in table tennis with my cat-like reflexes, I could see my parents sending me off to ping pong camp to bring honor to my family.
While I’m rooting for the folks in red, white and blue; I can partially see myself in red with yellow stars. But thank goodness I have zero athletic abilities because I’m a sore loser and a crybaby and the world doesn’t need to see that.
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