[Moderated by Matt Jones]
Until recently, I considered myself a damn fine American. I keep a flag in my apartment. I recite the Pledge of Allegiance before I go out a night of drinking beer at sports bars. I vote (and not on American Idol). I have American flag print running shorts, and I once helped Ally Tucker get the entire karaoke bar on its feet, hats off, hands on hearts by singing “God Bless the USA.”
However, in recent weeks, my self-perception has been dramatically shaken. You see, I was very excited about the Olympics. Made the executive decision that KSR College would cover them thoroughly (sorry, guys. Especially Nick Roush and judo). Thrilled for a chance to wear a USA jersey to Pazzo’s and crack judgment about the Brits’ offbeat sense of humor. Excited to decide whether I was Team Phelps or Team Lochte, but not really caring as long as stars and stripes ended up on that podium.
Now, on the eve of the Closing Ceremonies (do those get capitalized? Proper nouns and stuff? I guess in London, anything can be considered proper), I realize that I failed to support my country in the greatest pageant and spectacle to happen every four years. Simply put, I failed to give a sh*t about the Olympics.
I could blame it on NBC’s controversial coverage (which I will, at least partly), and the fact that I was in the midst of moving and living without cable and reliable Internet for over two weeks. But the fact of the matter is, I didn’t keep up with all the great story lines that defined this Triple X Olympiad. I watched half one of women’s soccer game, and it wasn’t even the Canada one. I don’t really remember what Jordan Wieber looks like. Is trampoline still a thing? Did Michael Phelps’ mom have any heart attacks? Did Lolo Jones even run?
I’m most ashamed of the fact that I failed to catch Anthony Davis in action- the pride and joy of this website, and I couldn’t even make the effort to find a sports bar with an open window and catch a glimpse of an auto-lob before carrying on down the street. Sure, I watched all the .gifs religiously, and skimmed articles looking for his name, but a true Kentuckiamerican would have done more. And until now, I considered myself the most Kentuckiamerican around. I don’t know myself anymore. Who am I?
Well, I think the answer lies in my history as a Kentuckian and college sports fan. With college sports, it’s one sport’s season at a time, for the most part. Being able to focus on just one athletic event, getting to know the players and coaches over a span of more than seventeen days- that’s how relationships are built. I’m a relationship girl, apparently. No hopping around from one metaphorical Olympian bed to the next (with exceptions being the dudes on this list). Therefore, when I decide to follow a sport, I’m committed. At age twelve I snuck headphones into the Nutcracker ballet to listen to UK beat UL in the Patrick Sparks free throws game. Last fall, I locked myself in a dressing room at work to furiously scroll through Twitter and text Ally for news of The Block against UNC. Basically, I’m Facebook official with UK basketball, and I just can’t get excited for something I’m not going to be interested in two weeks from now.
Also, I love the storied rivalries inherent in college sports. Sure, American always wants to win the most medals, and individual athletes may have archnemeses, but I don’t find any of that as gripping as a UK-UL game, or even a Duke-UNC game (don’t shoot me). College sports rivalries seem more intense than professional rivalries, and the Olympics are more about goodwill and peace on earth than hating your opponent because that’s just how you’re supposed to feel. Olympic storylines are heart-warming tales of redemption, of overcoming personal struggles, of sacrificing to represent your country at the highest level… but personally, I’d rather read about a UL billboard getting destroyed by an act of God while cackling in my bedroom. I’m a horrible person. I know.
Maybe what it all comes down to is that I bleed blue more than I bleed red, white and blue. It’s probably just me- after all, I know plenty of my fellow Kentuckians have been absurdly dedicated to the Olympics (scrolling through Twitter has become more of an Olympics recap and commentary than I ever expected). That doesn’t make me a better UK fan, or a worse American- at least, I hope not. But when the closing ceremonies (not capitalized this time around, take that Brits!) take place tomorrow night, I’ll be at my internship and unable to watch- and this is how I’ll feel:
That was my confession, I just said all I thought I could say. Wake me up when football season starts, because I know that it’s on the way.
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