I LOVE THE Olympics. All of them. Always.
Like most Americans, I only watch a lot of the Olympic sports once every four years. It doesn't matter how glued to the television I might be during the women's figure skatng long program tonight, I can guarantee that I will not watch one minute of figure skating until 2014. And the same goes for most of the winter sports. (Although I'm starting to get in to women's biathlon -- mainly because I like the idea of good looking Scandinavian women in tight suits skiing around the woods with guns strapped to their backs -- but that's another story.)
But here's the main reason why I love the Olympics. I get to root for the United States.
The American sports culture doesn't allow for this very often. Our major sports teams rarely compete in international competitions like the Champions League, or the European Championships, or the Six Nations, or the Ashes. There is no USA Football team; there is no USA baseball team (come on, I don't count with baseball world cup -- or whatever it is called), and there is no USA basketball team (except during the Olympics, and eve then no one cares). There are relatively few chances to get behind a national team and cheer them to victory.But during the Olympics I can root for the red, white, and blue.
Look, I wouldn't recognize Lindsey Vonn if she walked into the room wearing her ski suit -- but I get to root for her every time she hits the slopes. I couldn't pick out Shani Davis from a line-up of black speed-skaters -- but I can't wait to see him race. And I look forward to US hockey games about as much as I look forward to any sporting event.
I'm not an overtlyRah-Rah-USA-is-Best kind of guy. I don't own shirts with huge American flags on the front; I don't only 'buy American'; heck, I don't even live in the United States, for goodness sake. But when the Olympics come on my patriotism ratchets up a couple of notches and I rooting for ol' US of A.
I suspect this is not a uniquely American phenomenon.