Last weekend I attended the California Division I State High School Basketball Championship Game. It was a low scoring very competitive game between De La Salle and Clovis West. It came down to the final seconds with De La Salle pulling out the victory 43 – 40.
Now there were many things that could have turned the game at any point. One rebound, a steal, a couple of made free throws and Clovis West would have been celebrating. But what may have put De La Salle over the top was the American Flag patch sewn above the numbers on the back of every player’s uniform.
Maybe De La Salle won the game because they are more patriotic than their opponent ....from the same State .... the same country.
Now if this were an international tournament I guess this outward display of patriotism would be understandable, but in a high school basketball game with two teams from the very same state – it was a little ridiculous. Never mind that De La Salle is a private school from a wealthy suburb of the Bay Area and Clovis West is a public school from a much less affluent city near Fresno.
I have no way to find out but I would venture a guess that more family members of the Fresno kids are currently fighting for our "freedom" in Iraq.
Now I doubt that the players were the ones who added the flag to the uniforms. It was probably someone with the best intentions in mind. I bet it made them feel good as they sewed every stitch - like they were directly helping our country's fight for democracy in the world.
You know, like the people who buy monstrous SUV’s and decorate them with those yellow ribbons that say "support our troops".
How is driving a vehicle that gets 8 miles to the gallon supporting our troops - who are in harm’s way because as our President so eloquently put it “ We are addicted to oil”?
If you really want to support the troops Mr. Yellow Hummer, try riding a bicycle - then you can plaster it with all the "support the troops ribbons" you want and they will actually mean something. Or better yet, in the next election vote for the candidate who will support veteran's benefits and who won't send troops into battle as an experiment.
Only then will you be able to cheer "Patriotism, patriotism - we got patriotism - how about you?