July 23, 2024
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July 23, 2024
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There are many types of people in this world. There are nice ones, not nice ones, and ones that pretend to be nice, but really aren’t. There are people who do good for others because their hearts are pure and there are people who do good for others so they can tell people they did good for others. We have charitable people, cheap people, nasty people, cranky people, and people who are cranky because they are hungry. Yes, there are lots of different types of people in the world. But in the spirit of the Olympic Games, I have decided to narrow them down to specifically two different types of people: the Nancy’s and the Tonya’s.

For those of you who do not know to whom I am referring, allow me to take you back to the winter of 1994. I was in graduate school (yes, I have a graduate degree, a masters in social work if you must know, and I am very proud of it, even though I only use it to analyze myself and that is not going so well.) Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding were in the throes of practicing for the World Figure Skating championships. Nancy was a pretty, well-mannered young lady from Massachusetts, with a promising future. She was the favorite to win and her fans loved her. Tonya was a hick from Oregon (she specifically; I am not making a generalization about people from Oregon) with a bad dye job and an even worse attitude.

As it turns out, Tonya was none too pleased that Nancy was the favorite. So instead of training harder and further honing her skills, she decided it would be best if someone broke Nancy’s leg. The life lesson in that thought process would be “if you can’t beat ’em, beat ’em with a hammer” (though it might’ve been a police baton—oh the irony!).

Tonya’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly (I think the name really says it all—not that I am in a position to mock someone else’s name), another pillar of the community, conspired with another genius to carry out the attack. In the end, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb hired a third genius who didn’t actually break Nancy’s leg; he just sort of bruised it in what was to be known as “the whack heard round the world.”

If this had happened today, it would have been on Facebook, tweeted, twittered, instagrammed, on TMZ etc., etc. (Thank goodness for things that happened before social media.) In any event, Nancy was not able to participate in the championships due to her injury, but she did earn a spot on the Olympic team that was going to Lillehammer. Tonya was forced to withdraw from the championships, but somehow also made it onto the Olympic team.

In the end, however, good won out over evil (which I guess sometimes can happen) and Nancy won the silver medal as well as the hearts of fans around the world. Tonya placed somewhere in oblivion, where she should have stayed.

So are you a Nancy? Pretty, kind, talented and hard-working? Or, are you a Tonya? Malicious, greedy, envious, and poorly dressed? Can we compare this to the Betty versus Veronica debate of Archie comics fame? Betty is the sweet blonde who is everyone’s friend and Veronica is the dark-haired vixen who has Archie wrapped around her finger (and don’t blondes have more fun? Though, I am always happy when a brunette wins out, for obvious reasons…)

In any event, in doing an assessment of what kind of person we are and what kind of person we would like to be, let us heed the lessons of the past. Never ever be the Tonya…it just isn’t worth it. Even if there is someone’s leg that you would like to break, whether it be an annoying spouse or a friend who has gotten on your very last nerve, violence is never the answer. Be the kind Nancy and the sweet Betty. Or better yet, just be who you are, but maybe just a little bit better.

By Banji Latkin Ganchrow

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