I have been so consumed with watching the Olympics, I have been derelict in my blogging duties. I spoke at a conference today and at least half of my audience confessed to staying up well past their normal bedtimes to cheer on Team USA. Of course, we were heartbroken for the women's gymnastic team, thrilled for Phelps, and amazed that the women's volleyball uniforms were so tiny. What is up with that? The men aren't playing volleyball in Speedos - what's with the itsy bitsy bikinis?
Every time I watch the Olympics I'm reminded of how proud I am to be an American. I was delighted when our men's relay team won the gold in swimming - especially because of the French swimmer who said "we came to crush the Americans." Yeah, yeah France - whatever. Just how many times do we have to save your country before you lighten up?
And how about the women's gymnastics? I was sooo bummed when our women lost the gold, and you could see the heartbreak and the disappointment on their faces. But not fear - never fear. In the prelims, when one of the girls from China performed poorly, she came off the floor with a look of fear on her face. Remember, the Chinese hand pick these girls and they are raised by the state, not their families. I don't know if they face punishment for performing poorly, but that's what fear would indicate to me. China wants perfection and uniformity. Even to the extreme of having a little girl with a beautiful voice NOT sing the national song at the opening ceremony because she wasn't judged cute enough. They got a cuter girl who lip synced to the not so cute girl's voice. Thus creating a weird hybrid to get "perfection." American wants excellence, but we have always celebrated the individual. I love America!!!
Fear is a good motivator only in the short term. Joy motivates forever. Our athletes are competing out of joy - I can see it in their faces - can't you? I'll take the joy of our silver medal gymnasts over the gold of China's fear-filled robots any day. All I can think of is "heart" - say what you will - Americans have heart. We feel. We aren't perfect. We're a big, melting pot and that has its challenges. But at the end of the day, I'm so proud to be an American it brings tears to my eyes.
I'm glad Snickers is the official Olympic chocolate. It is quintessentially American. It tastes great, it's affordable, it's red, white and blue, it's named after a horse - it's completely non pretentious. Snickers is just darn glad to be there. It even has a song:
And when the going gets tough, of all the candy bars, I'd pick Snickers. (M & M's are too silly, Twix and Kit Kat too light, Reese's too melty). And when the going gets tough, who does the world call? (See what's going on in Georgia?) America. Here's to Team USA, Snickers, and America!