May 14, 2004
When my ESL students and I would do our American Values unit, one of the values I always had to explain at length was "the underdog". Rocky, Rudy, the 1980 US hockey team, these are all modern-day American heroes and folk legends. It's something we as an ESL class spent some time discussing because, to my knowledge, no other culture values the underdog like we do.
When the statue of Saddam came down last March, I was cheering the underdog. But watching Rocky last night triggered an analogy: we Americans are so familiar with the concept of bootstrapping that we sometimes have a hard time understanding why Iraq doesn't drink a glass of raw eggs and get to work. Iraq's Apollo Creed is Islamic Fundamentalism; the US arranged the fight but we can't understand why Iraq won't get in the ring. Having been raised on Rocky, Rudy, and Mighty Ducks, we easily forget that others don't have that tradition.
Who but an American would ever write
I fervently hope that someday, perhaps decades from now, Iraq will have a really top-notch soccer team. I hope that one day, they will get to the final round of the World Cup, and when they do, I hope it is Team USA they play for the championship.
I hope that the Americans play a tough, aggressive, masterful game, that they use all of the speed and skill and power at their command. And then I want to sit there watching TV as an old man, and watch the faces on the Iraqi people when the game is over, because I want to see that the most relieved and joyous they can conceive of being, is the day that tiny Iraq got out on that soccer field and kicked our ass.
Can the love for the underdog be taught? Can it be transfered to Iraqi society? Maybe our Air Force could drop copies of Rocky and Rudy on Iraqi cities so they can start studying. Someday I want to watch a movie about the Iraqi underdog who got to the top not because Allah was willing but because he worked his ass off. That's my hope for the future.
Posted by: Tym at May 14, 2004 12:22 PM (jKm1z)
Posted by: Beth at May 14, 2004 06:47 PM (e9V3+)
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