I really enjoy watching the Olympics. I didn’t always enjoy them. In fact, when I was a child I rather resented them. My parents always watched them, so there was nothing on the “big TV” for weeks until they were over. However, as a teenager and certainly as an adult, I have grown to enjoy the Olympics very much. It wasn’t until this year, though, that I finally figured out why.
It’s not because I like to watch sports. Though I enjoy playing sports (or at least I did when I was younger), I have never enjoyed watching sports on television. So why then? There is a certain amount of joy watching others fulfill their life-long dreams. And, though it probably makes me a little bit evil inside, it can be entertaining to watch a few of them totally eat it. But none of these reasons are why I really love the Olympics. I love the Olympics because for brief moments I actually feel proud to be an American.
I am not a political person, and I don’t often get into the politics of this country. I can say, however, that America does not often give me reasons to feel proud or patriotic. There are many reasons that I am glad to live in America, and I would never leave the country to live somewhere else, but in general, we are total assholes. There have been many times in our recent history that have made me ashamed of our government and the actions of the people.
But the Olympics is a place where we really shine. The Olympics provides us with heros, with people who we want to see succeed. Michael Phelps, the Fab 5, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, Missy Franklin… the list goes on and on. The Olympics is a time where we come together as a country to support our representatives with good will and respect. I get a thrill to see an athlete up on that medal stand, tearing up at the National Anthem. The Olympics have the same effect on me that a great Fourth of July fireworks show has. I feel a moment of pride and gratitude to be an American.
Especially in an election year where politics get ugly and people get angry, it can really feel like this country has gone to the dogs. Elections bring out the hate in people. There is so much vitriol being spat out in every direction that it seems impossible to escape. The summer Olympics come at a good time here in America, because we certainly need the boost. Despite being bombarded with campaign commercials, (which I could really do without, thanks) I love watching the Olympics to get at least a few fleeting moments to feel proud to be an American.