I love the Olympics, both as an American and as a Republican.
Like any Republican, I look for any excuse to cheer for the U.S.A. whether we are competing for economic supremacy or gold medals. Wherever someone is representing the United States in competition against another nation, I am cheering them on.
Part of the reason I got interested in soccer as a young person was because it was the only U.S. national team that competed on TV when the Olympics weren't on. I just liked having a reason other than the 4th of July, Veterans Day or Memorial Day to wear red, white and blue paraphernalia and wildly wave the stars and stripes. Sure it was only in support of 11 guys trying to put a ball into a giant net, but who cares? It's the U!S!A!
Here is how crazy it gets for me: I watched the U.S. women's water polo team play Italy on Sunday afternoon...for more than 60 minutes. And I was feverishly rooting for the U.S. the whole time. I didn't even know half the rules, but I didn't care.
And my over load love of U.S. athletes didn't just start at these Olympics. In 2010, when the Canadians edged the U.S. in the gold medal hockey final in Vancouver on an overtime game winner from Sidney Crosby, I was heart broken. However, when Naperville's Evan Lysacek had the figure skating performance of a lifetime and defeated Evgeni Plushenko in the free skate, I clapped loudly...in my own living room with only my girlfriend and her roommate to hear it (they were cheering, too).
Yes, I was just as loudly supportive of an Olympic figure skater as I am in the bottom of the 9th at Cubs game on the final out.
Do you know what I did, when I heard the U.S. women's indoor volleyball team was playing? I switch over to that NBC channel to watch it.
Perhaps I am a little over the top in my enthusiasm, because the Olympics combines my two favorite things: my beloved country and sports.
I cheer hard and applaud the effort of our athletes as a way of cheering for our whole country and everything we stand for.
I wish there was a televised competitive event where I could just as loudly cheer for all the members of our Armed Forces, or our biological engineers. I wish I could cheer on our scientists, doctors, researchers, entrepreneurs, judges, firefighters, cops, teachers and software developers just as vocally. But perhaps I cheer for all of them and all of us through those athletes. Gymnasts are athletes to be certain, but perhaps the reason I root for them is that they represent all the people in this country who work hard, think hard and do everything they can to be the very best they can possible be. And just as a hurdler sometimes makes a mistake and knocks one over, they still finish the race with every ounce of energy they have. Sometimes a researcher's initial findings may seem like a waste, but he/she pushes through and often finds that revolutionary breakthrough after all.
So our Olympians are worth vigorously rooting for because we can see a reflection of ourselves in them. They show us the spirit that defines America. We never give up, we always work hard and we desperately want to be the best in the world at anything we do.
We, Republicans, eat that stuff up.
I am not suggesting Democrats or liberals don't root just as hard for our Olympians or that they are any less enthusiastic. But we Republicans are suckers to anything that allows us to be unabashedly, obnoxiously American.
And we really like to beat the French. In anything.
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