As a dyed-in-the-wool Northerner, my time living in the South was a mixed bag. Southerners think differently, speak differently, eat differently, and prioritize life differently than do Yankees. In many ways, I became a better person during my time in the South, learning to relax a little bit and stop chasing my tail over everything all the time. In fact, the new and relaxed Frank was probably better prepared for the mellow attitude towards living that I’ve found so delightful here in the Pacific Northwest. (Believe it or not, PNW Frank of today is less-uptight than previous iterations.)
On the other hand, trying to get something moving faster than it was already moving was a near-impossible task and one that caused my impatient self frustration at times. I also learned that while the North has long since moved on from the trials and tribulations of the Civil War (er, the War of Northern Aggression), parts the South has not. In fact, any conversation with an elderly Southern Gentleman would invariably lead to the assertion that the South would rise again, to which my query was ignorant as always: “Again?”
My sense of nationalism is a wonderfully flexible thing. I was raised in the States in a Dutch household by Dutch parents speaking Dutch as my first language. I was, however, born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, about a score after Johnny Cash accidentally met a heartbreaker there. On any typical day, I self-identify as a Dutchman, despite my passport being inarguably American after having been born within the borders of the United States. But whenever the good ol’ US of Fuckin’ A pulls one out of the bag, my allegiances happily flop over and I’m suddenly a proud American. Its very convenient, always being on the winning side this way.
Seeing the turnout at the Cyclocross World Championships was one of those times. Everything fell in place; the crowds, the racing, and the weather going full-blown Cyclocross by throwing ice, snow, mud, and rain at the racers. American Katie Compton even brought home a Silver medal. (Oh, and by the way, the Dutch won 3 out of 4 events, so put that in your pipe, Belgium.)
This was already enough to restore my faith in American Cycling, but it wasn’t until the Elite Men’s Award Ceremony that I was nearly brought to prideful tears. There isn’t any population that has a healthier disdain for authority than do Americans, and I can’t think of any group of Americans with a healthier disdain for fat white corrupt assholes than Southerners. Given the current state of affairs, I tip my hat to the great work done by Louisville, Kentucky in organizing the event, the throngs who showed up and proved that Cycling can be successful in America, and booing Pat McQuaid like he has always deserved.
I’m not sure if the South will rise again, but I’m mighty proud at how we pulled this one up from the ashes. Chapeau, ‘Murca.