Archive for September, 2010
The dictionary defines a patriot as; “a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.”
Although I love Australia and like to see us do well, I’ve never been fanatical and like most Aussies, I’ve taken it in my stride if we don’t come 1st at something. Most of us don’t know all the words to our National Anthem or even like the song – compared to many others it’s not that uplifting and the topic of what should be our National Anthem is one that still causes debates today.
Having said all that, there’s been a subtle change in my level of patriotism since I left Australia. I’m now willing to watch sport on TV if the Aussies are playing or even attend a match for the same reason. My recent trip to Silverstone for the 2010 British Grand Prix was partially because it’s something I’ve never done but; when you consider I’ve never had any interest in Formula 1 racing, you could say the fact that an Aussie (Mark Webber) was a major contender was the deciding factor in my decision to pay the ticket price!
Once there, I felt a strong need to wave an Aussie flag to support Webber and let everyone else know there was an Aussie amongst them…I saw quite a few actually. I even managed to get my Kiwi friend to wave an Aussie flag. This isn’t something I (or she) would normally do but then again, I guess if I was in Australia I might not feel such a need to display my ‘identity’ and support for my fellow countrymen, we’d all be ‘home.’
From knowing nothing about this sport I quickly learnt the background (they have a good commentary during the lead-up) that Webber had not been treated as well as his team-mate in the week prior to this race and had basically said he’d win anyway.
I never doubted it and must admit my interest in the race was certainly tied to the fact that Webber took the lead from the start and never let it go. I wanted him to win and show he could do it against the odds, with all my Aussie heart.
Can you imagine my excitement (pride) when that Aussie guy led for the entire race and became the first Australian to win a Formula 1 Grand Prix since Alan Jones, roughly 30 years prior – Go Aussie Go!
This experience made me think about patriotism and how us Aussies don’t seem to display it much at home. Some nationalities feel the need to display patriotism for their country all the time, almost forcing people not to doubt it. I’ve learnt that the famous Aussie laid-back, don’t give a damn attitude doesn’t come from a lack of patriotism at all. It’s more about that other Australian idiosyncrasy whereby we don’t like to ‘blow our own trumpets’ rather from an actual lack of caring.
Perhaps being away from your homeland makes it more acceptable to take pride in the achievements of your countrymen. Being away has made me more patriotic than I ever feel the need to be in Australia and I’m thinking that’s not a bad thing…how about you?