I’m going to start by saying I’m an Olympics junkie.
Since the start of the Olympics, I watch everything and anything that’s on.
Even though I could give a flying fart about synchronized diving, water polo, rowing, trampoline and a host of other innocuous sports, whenever the Olympics come around, suddenly these sports start to…matter?
They don’t really matter.
The day after the Olympics game conclude, they will cease to have any relevance and fade back into obscurity.
I mean really, who really cares about water polo?
When the heck did friggin trampoline become an Olympic sport anyway?
And when did the US get a team?
When did any country, for that matter?
My point is that during the Olympics we care…deeply…about sports, in a way that doesn’t jibe with who we really are.
During the Olympics, we sit, eyes glued to the television set, as the <respective country of origin or allegiance here> Olympic <innocuous sport name here> team goes for gold.
We cheer when our Olympic sports heros qualify, win, get a high score, set an Olympic record or personal best.
We moan when our heros are out-touched at the finish, fail to qualify or come in fourth.
During the two-and-a-half weeks of the Olympics, we experience a range of emotions that can only be attributable to one thing: patriotism.
I said it.
We care because we are p-a-t-r-i-o-t-i-c.
And I’m not talking the flag-on-your-car antennae type either.
I’m talking about the full-fledged, screaming-at-your-tv, sweaty palms, sitting on the edge of your seat with anxiety patriotism that only the Olympics can bring out.
When Tomasz Majewski won gold in the shot put, Polish people worldwide went crazy.
When Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won the 100 meter dash, Jamaican’s across the globe lost it.
When Michael Phelps achieved Olympic greatness with 22 Olympic medals, Americans blew their collective load.
“Why?” you ask.
Is it because Tomasz Majewski is such a stud?
Or because every country wants bragging rights to the 100 meter dash?
Or perhaps because we all see a little of ourselves skimming along the surface of an Olympic sized pool?
No. No. And no.
It’s because for that brief period of time we are all united under a flag.
The collective cheer that erupts when an athlete achieves Olympic gold is a shared moment of nationalistic triumph.
That medal count.
The national anthem.
All things which touch that patriotic nerve.
But soon, the cheers will fade.
The crowds will disperse.
The Olympic village will empty.
So <fill in the name of your country here>, enjoy it while it lasts.
When the last medal has been awarded and the Olympics come to an end, we’ll be jaded, once again.
And go right back to hating our countries.