I love America.  Land of the free and home of the brave where bourbon and liberty flow like the salmon of Capistrano, I love me some America.  I even joined the Marine Corps to defend lady liberty against all enemies foreign and domestic but when it comes to the Olympics I find that patriotism challenged as I’m rarely rooting for America to win.  Now, there are some broader narratives where I pull for America such as wanting to beat Russia in the overall medal count.  But that is more due to the fact that I’m an 80’s kid raised at the height of the Cold War and much like Klingons, I’ll never trust them because Ivan Drago juiced and killed Apollo Creed.  So while I love America, every Olympics be they Summer or Winter I find myself pulling for a different type of athlete.  I’m sorry ladies and gentlemen, but until the day I die I’ll always pull for the Jamaican Bobsled team over America every single time and if you’ll admit, you do too.  I root for the underdogs in the Olympics and it just so happens that is rarely the United States of America.

The Rich Kids

Look, it takes time and money to train for the Olympics year round and that is something of which America is disproportionately blessed.  Our athletes have the finest facilities, receive financial stipends, and have little else to worry about in the world other than sport.  Meanwhile, the athletes from many parts of the world spend their morning milking goats, feeding their families, if they can swing it perhaps get a workout or two in before the sun sets.  Yes, that’s a little bit of an exaggeration but you get the point.


So yes, I find myself every Olympics pulling for the underdog goat farmer over the well-seasoned American athlete and I don’t feel the least bit guilty about it.  Let me ask you this question when you watched the original Rocky did you find yourself pulling for Apollo Creed or Rocky Balboa?  Did you or did you not pull for Rudy Rudiger to beat out larger and more well-trained athletes for a spot on the Notre Dame football squad.  My eyes sweat every time at the end of that movie.  Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve reached the epiphany that when it comes to global sport the United States is not the Mighty Ducks or the Little Giants.  No, we are the rich kid team in each movie with all the best equipment and an expectation that we will crush the opposition.  Except table tennis, we are totally the Mighty Ducks of table tennis and China is the snooty rich kid team.

2016 olympic medal count

It’s just sport people and when it is over our athletes will come home to the richest nation to ever grace the face of the planet.  Our athletes, in general, seem to come from well-off families who can actually afford the time and training it takes to master a sport since birth and they will be ok.  Sorry, but it brings a little joy to my heart to see Shaka the goat farmer go home with a gold medal.  Suck it Michael Phelps now go make me a Subway sandwich.

The Refugee Team

So if you are like me and you love an underdog story via Rocky Balboa, the Karate Kid, and Happy Gilmore then you are going to love this.  For the first time ever, there is a team of athletes competing for Team Refugee. That’s right, 10 athletes from Syria, South Sudan, Ethopia, and the Congo are competing in the Olympics on behalf of worldwide refugees.  Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to 2016’s Mighty Ducks.

Olympic refugee team

Tell me you don’t want them to win.  C’mon people this story is as good as it gets and I don’t care if these people put together a basketball squad and beat the USA by 50 points, I found my team in this year’s Olympics.  It’s just sport and since we love to root for the underdog so why not do so on the world’s biggest stage.  I love America with all my heart, but the total Olympic medal count has yet to put food on my table so it might as well put food on the table of a third world athlete.  Get some refugees.  Form a flying V, roll out the statue of liberty play, and get some.  America is not and should not hand it to you on a platter, but if you reach out and take it I’ll be the first rich American to start an epic slow clap on your behalf.


In Conclusion

The Olympics themselves are getting a little outdated.  This isn’t 1920 where world communication and travel takes place at a snail’s pace.  I’ve been to Brazil a few times and walked through the favelas and I’ll tell you without a doubt that Olympic stadium money could have been better spent on something more useful to their citizenry than giving the industrialized nations a place to rack up gold medals.  I mean, why did the rest of the world’s basketball teams even show up?  By the way, most athletes are staying in the poorly constructed Olympic village will our NBA stars chartered a luxury cruise liner in the harbor?  The Mighty Ducks we are not, people.  The Mighty Ducks we are not.

So enjoy the revelry of the Olympics if you wish, but meanwhile, this patriot will be cheering for the underdogs and apart from table tennis, that ain’t America.  But don’t worry, when it’s over I will resume my Team America, whiskey drinking, gun loving patriotism topped off with a Ric Flair “Woooooo” to boot.  But as for the Olympics, I’ll be cheering for the little guy because it is after all just sport people.   For the regular followers of the blog, sorry for the weeklong delay in posting but I went camping for a week where internet was forbidden because sanity, that’s why.  If you want to keep up with my latest musings like the Facebook page below or sign up for email notifications above.  If you agree with me on cheering for the underdog, post your finest Ric Flair “Wooo” in the comments.

Veteran fireworks

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4 Replies to “Sorry, But This Patriot Rarely Cheers for America During the Olympics”

  1. I get your point but your writing seems a little off- maybe because the Olympics never appealed to me.

  2. I agree to a point. Back when the Olympics were truly about amateur athletes and we really were the underdogs to the Soviet Block countries, it was easy to root for the Red, White and Blue without regret. These days I notice a large number of the athletes from other countries train extensively in the US while attending major US Colleges and competing at the Collegiate level right here. It seems a lot of these “underdogs” are really just leased to the other countries.

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