Tuesday, February 07, 2006

When sports cultures collide

Work took me away a lot on Friday and Monday. In between was the weekend. I hate how late L'Ailee's been working, but she has free Saturdays and only one class on Sundays this quarter. I have to appreciate that. We went grocery shopping, I reconditioned a friend's table, and then we...um...got re-acquainted. I dimly remember that we could spend four months without physical contact if we had to, and do a week standing on our heads--what on earth happened? A week's abstinence had us carryin' on like one of us had just completed a long hitch in the Army! Maybe living together adds an element of "so close yet so far" frustration; I don't know.

Sometimes we forget that we come from two very different cultures. Sometimes the fact that we're as different as Florida and Siberia comes through out loud. I realized that sports really bring that out.

I love racing and got her into it. She loves hockey, and I'm learning more about it. We have plenty of ammunition to tease each other: She got to like Kevin Harvick as a driver because she liked the colors of his merchandise and car (gray, black, and red), and I decided that I would cheer on the Pittsburgh Penguins because "penguins are so cute." I am not kidding. Lately, we have actually had passionate discussions over whether the Penguins' Sidney Crosby or the Washington Capitols' Alex Ovechkin deserves to be Rookie of the Year, and it's surreal for me that I even care. I guess it was surreal for her to actually get into the Chase for the Cup, too.

The Olympics are coming up. L'Ailee is one of a generation of skinny little Russian girls who longed to represent the Soviet Union in the Olympics and "completely embarrass that ugly American bitch Mary Lou Retton." L'Ailee is an American citizen, loves this country, lived longer here than in Siberia, but she still detests Mary Lou Retton. I found this out when she was praising one of her little girls in her gymnastics class, and I told her she made the girl sound like the next Mary Lou Retton, and she barked, "Bite your tongue!", with all seriousness.

Remember that movie about the 1980 American hockey team beating the Russians at the Olympics? She didn't think that was such a good movie or inspirational story, either. The way she remembered it, it was a tragedy, and all the adults in her town got angry and drank more than usual.

She's going to be TiVoing the Winter Olympics, and cheering on the Americans, but I suspect that if a Russian takes the gold home, she'll be more than fine with it.


Blogzie said...

Count me in as another American who can't stand Mary Lou Retton.

I was always an Olga Korbut girl.

That's how very, very old I am.


alan said...

Having seen what happens at work when the Chiefs lose, I can understand how she feels about the depression after that loss!

Looking forward to highlights and scores, but not going to get to slow down to watch in detail, sadly...

Sometimes I think the longer you are together the harder it is to be apart!


Writer Mom said...

What's her position on Kerri Strug?

Penguins do sound cute. Funny to imagine them playing hockey.
(Glad you got some QT)

sttropezbutler said...

Yuck...Mary Lou lives in Texas...I think..well I try NOT to think about it actually...

I loved Nadia!