“Which One’s the American?”

Photo by Ryunosuke Kikuno on Unsplash

Our family has been viewing the Tokyo Olympics. Molly loves it. She loves the athletes and the stories, and she is amazed by the things human beings can do.

As anyone who has been paying attention knows, there have not been fans at the Olympics, and the games were postponed last summer. Everything about this Olympics has felt a bit weird. And as an American, it has been a different viewing experience. Athletes seem to get more attention for their political stances than they do for their sporting accomplishments. Media story lines have left things fuzzy when it comes to love of country, the honor of representing one’s homeland, and expressions of pride in national identity.

But every time we watch an event, my son asks, “Which one is the American?” He’s not watching the news. All he knows is that there are people in Tokyo who are from the same place he is from. He doesn’t care about their religion or class or their race. All he cares about is that they are from the same place he is, and because of that, he’s going to hope they win.

That’s as it should be.