Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Final Four: Who are you for?


My cousin of the heart, Amanda, lives in Wheelersburg in southern Ohio, on the border with Kentucky.  She works across the river, at the Boyd County Public Library in Ashland, KY, where she is the super communications person and chief cheerleader.  

She's changing her shirt! This was taken
a year ago Easter on a Toledo visit
with her kids. A flag of Ukraine is in
the background.  
But she lives on the edge, as it were.  How does it feel to be the only person at the Library rooting for Ohio State in the Final Four NCAA basketball games? How does it feel to be the only red shirt in a sea of blue shirts?  Is it like blue vs. red states in politics? 

The big college hoops games are tonight.  The Final Four.  If Ohio State beats Kansas, and if Kentucky beats Louisville (a rivalry within borders), it will be OSU vs KY in the national championship game.  The rivary is heating up, and Amanda’s up for it.  

When you live on the border, any border, anywhere in the world, it helps to have a good sense of humor.  Amanda has that in spades, the best mom, friend and fellow traveler in the world, and the funniest. 

Her insights and humor, her intelligence, tolerance and loyalty, touched me when I lived on the border of Ukraine and Russia.  She instinctively understood the ups and downs, cheered me on.

Now I live on the border of Ohio and Michigan and, sure enough, loyalties are divided.  Up here in  northwestern Ohio, where the state line is just a few blocks away, as many folks cheer for Michigan as for Ohio State, especially during football season, but for other sports, too.  Some Michigan fans might even be cheering for anyone but Ohio in the Final Four games.  It's a border clash.

With the championship games on the line, Amanda is at it again, in the arena, fully engaged in the battle of the day.  Showing her true colors.  She's in her red shirt, surrounded by blue shirts.  She is once again reminding me that living on a  border is one of our greatest challenges, and can be one of our greatest joys.  
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