jeudi, février 18, 2010
They are the young Americans
Ok, I'm about to jump right into a boiling cauldron of steaming vapor here.
Yanno, it is better to be thought a fool, than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt.
Anyhow, here goes.
As I watched the American women skiers last night on NBC, I had my first real chance to take a good look at Lindsey Vonn, and her compatriot, Julia Mancuso.
Jaunty, attractive without being threatening, bright-eyed and exuding confidence, there is a style about Mancuso and Vonn that makes them wonderful representatives of America on a world stage.
And as I say that, I realize how anachronistic in some ways that sounds.
For in some ways Vonn and Mancuso define that old fashioned adjective "all-American." They were the girl jocks that you envied in high school because not only were they athletically gifted but they got the guy.
They could have been cheerleaders, but they had the chutzpah and the talent to get out of town and aim for the mountains. They have a desire to beat out the competition that is as real as their grace when they don't win.
They have both had to deal with the sadness of having had estranged parents (I believe that Mancuso's dad has spent time in jail).
That being said, it would be great to have some representation from African-American and Latina skiers -- and skaters and half-pipe specialists.
Didn't it raise your spirit to see skater Shani Davis, from the South side of Chicago, a gold medalist in the white-on-white sport? Yep, as he said, he earned the right to dance if he wants to. Davis is a phenomenal American success story.
With their lack of ethnic and racial diversity, many of the teams don't represent American pluralism.
But they do represent America -- and they are doing it with joy, elan, and heart.
I haven't experienced that kind of life.
But I sure as heck love seeing those young men andwomen on the platform, white teeth gleaming, driven by an American dream. In those moments, we can, without ambivalence or envy, take a stand right up there alongside them.