Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Loyalty Schmoyalty: Which Team's Winning?

My sis, Durie, called to find out how Kiki, our 5yo niece, was coping with the fact that Greece was losing the match last Saturday. See, they had both decided to root for Greece. (I don't know why. Let's move on.) Colombia, though, was leading by two goals on that third day of World Cup 2014. Her mother - our sis - kindly informed her that Kiki had switched over to root for Colombia. She said Kiki had asked her, "Mommy? Where are all the blue people? I'm only seeing yellow!"

When Durie got her on the phone, Kiki quickly explained, "Well, I did start out cheering for Greece, but then Colombia was winning, so I started cheering for Colombia."

I cracked up when I heard that. What made it funnier was the thought that Durie, nestled in her neck of the woods, was thinking she had company in the misery of Greece's predicament. Only to find out after that fateful call that she was "compwetely and utterly awone." (Moulin Rouge)

But, it also got me thinking. The child was innocent and direct in her decision to go with the winning team! After all, who wants to be on the losing side? And, at what age or phase, or under what circumstance, does a sense of loyalty kick in? Sure she could stick with the losing team but...whyyy? In a later conversation with Durie, she said she imagined Kiki thinking, "What's in it for me?" Lol!!! The child had no ties whatsoever - and no qualms about going with the winner.

It was, undeniably, a fascinating thing to behold - a sense of duty and obligation (even if it meant enduring the misery of losing) vs. I'm-switching-to-the-winning-team. And for what? As sis asked, why do we feel so duty bound to stick? Perhaps it is to answer that call to belong; perhaps it is to be regarded as someone who can be relied upon.

In growing up, you definitely win and lose. For, how many of us, truth be told, would like to simply ditch a choice we made - not necessarily re World Cup - and go with a (more) winning option? But, we're all grown up now. Ours is not the luxury to change choices at the drop of a hat because, well, we understand that there may be ripple effects or consequences. There are people's feelings to consider; the job you want to keep; the mortgage to be paid; relationships you want to hold on to; the peace with which you want to go to bed, and so on. People are drawn to - and hold in higher regard - those who can be relied on; those who are there for you not only in the good times. These loyal folks are the ones, who, when you've given your best and haven't quite made the mark, are with you to support you and tell you all is not lost; better days are ahead; the light at the end of the tunnel is not the train coming - and whatever other cliché they can think of. I do see that coming out in my niece. She already has a well-developed kind and supportive way about her.

Our loyalty journey may very well start in our affection for our loved ones. We start with family - our first social group - and show our support as an expression of love. We want those we love to do well. If our little sister enters a 100m race, even if she places second, we don't suddenly start supporting the neighbour's child who placed first, do we? I said, "Do we?" I'm cracking up here because when I suggested that our niece might've continued her support if she'd had had a relative on the team, Durie said she wasn't so sure!

Where the football was concerned, however, Kiki hadn't budged an inch by the Argentina vs Bosnia-Herzegovina match the following day. I sat next to her as the teams played on and casually asked, "Which team are you rooting for?" Without missing a beat, "Which team's winning?" Lol!!!

Can hardly blame her. The lesson on loyalty can wait until after the World Cup. After all, she doesn't have a mortgage.



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