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Da Fambly

Athletes’ Families Back Home Rejoicing in Family Member Medal Performances

If you’ve been watching the 2020 (2021?) Tokyo Olympics on TV, you’ve seen it a hundred times. Cut from the proud medalist to his or her family back in the states howling and dancing like a bunch of Yahoos. NBC is using Microsoft Teams software to show the family response to the winners. And the result is usually pretty nauseating.

They are usually packed in large rooms as big as dance halls in groups of several dozen, usually wearing T-shirts or sweatshirts emblazoned with the name of their boy or girl in Tokyo. My usual response is to say to myself, addressing the athletes, “So those are the clowns you’ve managed to give the slip to. Time to stay far away from Podunk: Find a life for yourself away from these people.”

Oh, you can telephone them once every few months, but now it’s time to live your own life.

I imagine that some people get pretty weepy about showing the families of the athletes. My reaction can be summarized in one word: Flee! That’s what I did when I went 600 miles away from home to go to college, and then moved to the opposite side of the country to go to graduate school and begin a life of my own.

All of us eventually have to weaken those family ties in order to live our own lives. I find that the ones who don’t wind up leading stunted, dissatisfied lives. Seeing those T-shirted family mobs on NBC make me glad that I did what I did back in the 1960s. Not that I didn’t love my family, but I didn’t want to live as the college boy who never left home.