The elements of American culture I will probably never understand

Alexei Sorokin
3 min readMay 29

Probably. I am leaving a chance. But so far, in my thirteen years in the country, I haven’t gotten close. I experienced the country intimately, its different coasts and the middle, across four decades, so this is not a note from a tourist but an immigrant who calls the country home.

In no particular order.

Baseball. I love all things sports, and with age, I love all things sports even more. In recent years I’ve become more American in my interests — for example, I find the NBA much more exciting than soccer. Baseball though… I never found it interesting or made an effort to understand it. Of course, I can watch a YouTube video and educate myself, but I have zero interest. I’m sure my kids understand the game as they are growing up in America, but in general, this sport — an important part of American culture — doesn’t catch any of my or my family’s attention.

Country music. Like with sports, I love music. I like different genres from different decades. Nothing is off-limits for me. I like classic rock, and I like modern pop. Country music is an exception, though. I’d struggle to listen to it even if it were the only radio station available on a long and lonely road trip. Fortunately, Taylor Swift transitioned from country music to pop. I love Taylor Swift! Also, I don’t mind some country elements in the music by the artists I enjoy — the Rolling Stones, for example, Bob Dylan or Kings of Leon. I just don’t like it as a standalone genre.

Guns. This point is not political, and let’s forget, for a moment, America’s mass shootings. I understand the complex debate behind gun ownership and gun control. I am very freedom-loving, so I understand, for example (without even mentioning Second Amendment), how gun control measures could be seen as a threat to individual freedom. However, I’m fascinated by the actual passion behind owning a gun. At the risk of generalizing and spewing cliches, it seems that many Americans love their guns as actual objects. It’s part of their identity. Regardless of whether I could easily buy and own a gun, I wouldn’t unless I lived in a unique setting — in the middle of nowhere where the probability of needing to protect myself with a weapon would be reasonably high. Let’s admit though most Americans do not live in…

Alexei Sorokin

A Russian immigrant in America, father of 4, Cambridge and Harvard Business School alum. I run and write every day. More here: