This blog post is in response to a comment made by Sportsnet’s Craig Forrest, “That’s way too American for me …” about Sydney Leroux’s goal celebration after scoring the final goal in a 3-0 victory over Canada, in an international friendly known as “The Rematch”.
I am American, born and raised in New Jersey. I am also Danish, German, French-Canadian, and American Indian. I got married in Denmark (it’s a long, but funny story). I lived in Germany for 5 1/2 years (as a GI). I visited Canada many times in my youth (it was a favorite vacation destination for my family). I spent time with various Cherokee relatives (on and off the ‘”reservation”). I identify with all parts of my heritage, I am all these things, but I am an American first.
So, you might ask me, what does that mean, American? This would be my answer..
I was taught and grew up in a time when being an American meant you were the best..at everything. Even though you may not have done it first, you did it best. And the best was expected of you, at every level. And while I have grown up and am not so naive as to believe America is the best at everything, I still believe that is what we should strive for as a nation.
One quality that I believe you must have to maintain you through the journey to be the best is a particular attitude. An attitude that says “I can, I will, and nothing you can do or say will stop me”. That is why I have no problem with the celebration Syd did after her goal in front of thousands of Canadian fans. It embodies that attitude.
It has been suggested that there is an unwritten rule that you don’t honor the badge against a former team, especially if it’s the national team of your birth country, in a sportsmyriad blog. I must note, I don’t agree that the full Canadian national team is Syd’s team. She left the Canadian system long before she reached that level.
I think there is also an unwritten rule in America that you don’t have to take sh*t from anyone. What Syd did, by honoring the crest on her jersey and shushing a particularly vulgar section of Canadian fans, said just that. It said she didn’t have to listen to their boos and feel inferior, she didn’t have to play to less than her ability to make them feel better. She didn’t have to be shy, or defer to their bruised egos by not celebrating her choice to represent a very valid part of who she is as a person. It said to me that she represents the best of what it means to be American.
Most everyone seems to forget that Syd was subjected to more than her share of derision before this game and her reaction was not just to the boos she received at BMO field. Her celebration was probably as much a letting off of built up steam as it was about the actual goal. And I stand by my tweet that, in some part, the backlash against her for her celebration was sexist. Strong women who stand up for themselves very often receive harsher push back than men who might do the same thing. It’s how life works.
A charge often made against Syd is that she’s a traitor. Last I knew, she’s a dual citizen, both Canada and the United States can lay claim. As long as she’s a dual citizen can she even be “too American”?
My opinion will not sit well with everyone, but you know that’s OK with me. Being American also means I am free to express my opinion and you, are free to kiss my…OK, maybe that is too American.