The Olympics can bring out the best and worst of one’s allegiances to their country. I’ve never found myself hating on countries like Germany and South Korea in the past, but make them the USA’s latest competition, and I loathe them. I’ve also encountered another sort of conundrum. Being a huge hockey fan, I have allegiances to certain players because they play for my favorite team. None of the players that I love play for Team USA. Uh-oh!
So after the jump experience my patriotic conundrum.
Before the Olympics started, I knew I would have a hard time with this whole hockey situation. One of my most favorite NHL players, Alex Ovechkin, is representing the Russian team. The Russian team has five current and/or former Washington Capitals playing for it (Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Semyon Varlamov, Sergei Fedorov, & Victor Kozlov). I love all five of these guys. How can I root against them?
When I informed my parents that it will be hard for me to root against Ovechkin and Team Russia, my mom and dad called me a traitor. My parents are of the generation that grew up hating/fearing the Soviets. They remember where they were when they witnessed the “Miracle on Ice.” They couldn’t understand how I could possibly root for Russia. As the tournament progressed, both my mom and dad found themselves rooting for Russia. They agreed that, as Caps fans, they just couldn’t bring themselves to root against Ovi and company.
We’ve all realized that our patriotism runs strong, though. While we don’t have any “connections” to Team USA, other than the name on the front of the jersey, we’ve been vehemently rooting for them to win. After Sunday’s game against Canada, my family’s patriotism has reached new levels. I even heard my mom yell “Suck it, Canada” after a US goal. Of course, we found it pretty easy to hate Canada. First they snubbed Mike Green, and, most importantly, they’re lead by Sidney Crosby, public enemy #1 in our household.
I’ve been in countless debates with my fellow Caps fans about Olympic allegiances. Most of us agree that it’s definitely USA first, and most agree that Russia is a close second, followed by Sweden (Nicklas Backstrom represent!). I’m in that boat for the most part, but if the USA doesn’t win the gold, I’m praying that it’s ABC – Anybody But Canada (apologies to Lady Bee, of course). I’ve never realized how much disdain I’ve had for our neighbors to the North until this year. (I promise it will go away soon, Canadians…Your anthem rocks the socks off all the others) My family is rooting for the USA 100%. No doubt in any of our minds, that is, until we meet Russia.
So far, the USA hasn’t encountered Russia, and they wouldn’t encounter them until the gold medal game, if both teams get that far. This is good news for my family. We know that we will be pulling for the USA more than any other country, but it will be hard for us to root against the players we have come to love. For now, all we can do is sit and watch. The tournament continues today with the USA facing Switzerland at 3pm EST. But the big match-up is tonight: Russia vs. Canada in the quarterfinals at 7pm EST. Ovechkin vs. Crosby. This rivalry has reached new levels, and this is pretty much the ultimate. It’s a bit sad, but I’m more excited for this game than the USA/Switzerland tilt, but, shhh, don’t tell anyone.