I've been putting off writing this post because frankly, the topic gets me fired up. Like, irrationally angry, probably to an unhealthy level.
I'll start off with the nice stuff. I really love the Olympics and the magic that comes from the Olympic spirit. I love seeing the pure, unadulterated joy on the faces of athletes who win and the pride of those who are just happy to compete for their countries. I'm often moved to tears while watching the Olympics. The first time I cried tears of joy was in 1996 when the Magnificent Seven won team gold. You know what I'm talking about.
I'm at a loss for words. I mean, what is there to say? It was a truly magical moment, and embodies the Olympic spirit. Just amazing.
That brings me to Olympic hockey. I can't think of anything that fires me up more than the hockey that happens every four years, aside from the World Junior Championship.
I have no tolerance for people who root against their country. Like, seriously. What in the actual fuck is wrong with you?! There is no justifiable reason for this and I don't care what you say. You are entitled to your opinion and your treasonous opinion is wrong. This is not the NHL regular season. "Favorite players" don't matter here. This is a two-week tournament for international glory. There is a team that wears your country's colors and name across it's chest, yet you choose to root for your country's biggest rival.
Don't tell me, "Sid is my favorite player, so I'm rooting for Canada." You know what, Sidney Crosby is one of my favorite players, too, but, newsflash, HE'S CANADIAN AND WE ARE AMERICAN. HE DOES NOT WEAR THE COLORS OF OUR COUNTRY'S FLAG DURING THE OLYMPICS. I also do not care if you started cheering for Canada as a misinformed little boy/girl because you love Mario Lemieux. Again, Mario is Canadian, and therefore, your argument is invalid. Nothing you can say to me will convince me that you are not wrong for choosing to root against your country. Nothing. Don't even bother trying.
I've also seen people say, "I hate Kane/Kesler/Brown/your mom. I hate Team USA." WHAT. WHAT ARE YOU EVEN SAYING?! Go ahead and dislike whatever players you want, God knows I have my own laundry list, but how does that translate into hating YOUR. OWN. COUNTRY. That doesn't even make any sense. It's INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION, not ROOT FOR YOUR FAVORITE PLAYER COMPETITION. Nothing, and I mean nothing could ever make me root against the United States of America. Not even if I was married to a Canadian athlete. N O T H I N G.
Johnny Damon was my favorite baseball player for a very long time. When he signed with the Yankees, he was dead to me. Would it have been okay for me, as a die-hard Red Sox fan, to jump ship and start rooting for the Yankees? Hell no.
What if a Columbus native grew up a Michigan fan? Again, not okay.
How about a Pittsburgh native being a Flyers fan? Nope.
You see where I'm going with this.
Then, I see things like this and get even angrier about people cheering against their own countries.
All this being said, I love national pride. I have zero problem with Canadians who root for their country with every fiber of their being. This is how it should be. I'm also skeptical of people who cheer for Team USA but aren't American.
I also love friendly, sports-related ribbing and harassment. However, if you come at me and you're not rooting for your own country, chances are good that I'll want to punch you in your Benedict Arnold face.
I love you, Sidney Crosby, and you'll always be one of my favorite athletes, but I want to use this picture as target practice with the gun I don't own.
For two weeks every four years, my most favorites become my most hated, and athletes I hate become those I cheer on relentlessly. It's actually beautifully poetic.
If you're one of the traitors I'm talking about, you're probably wondering why I care so much and what real effect this has on my day-to-day life. To answer your question, you're right it doesn't. However, I am still fascinated and dumbfounded by your horrible life choices.