Ah, the Olympics. That wonderful occasion when every four (or two if you want to get technical) when countries of the world get together and unite under the spirit of competition. The good ambassadors and competitors of every nation come together in a show sportsmanship, love, and a sense of betraying their country.

Wait, what? One of those doesn’t sound right. Let’s back up a bit. Countries uniting, spirit of competition, good ambassadors, sportsmanship, love, betraying country…. Ah. There it is. Ladies and gentlemen of the United States of America, why in the world would you want to cheer against your home country? As an American, we are to support our fellow countrymen as they head in to battle to face the top talent that the rest of the world will send out in an effort to prove that they are the best of the best and raise their flag in glory as their national anthem plays. Unpatriotic! Or is it? I’ll give you three reasons why it’s okay to cheer for other countries.

Reason number 1: Miracle on Ice 1980
Whether you were able to view it live or only able to watch replays of the games, you have to acknowledge the fact that the world rallied around the United States when they played Russia. Russia had dominated the hockey world for decades and every country was ready to see the king dethroned. In that instance when the United States took the lead and looked to be the one to do the impossible, everyone became an American. Except for the Soviets. Well, maybe some Soviets, it’s possible. If it’s one thing that the world is good at, it’s rallying around something to achieve something greater.

Reason number 2: The X-Factor
Their are some reasons that you find yourself cheering for a team that you just find yourself gravitated toward. All of a sudden, you’re a fan of a team you had no interest in. Whether it was Ray Bourque finally lifting the Stanley Cup over his head in Operation 16W, or the New York Rangers led by Mark Messier breaking the curse against the Canucks in 1994, even something as simple as watching Gretzky play the game like none other before and none other sense. There’s some kind of special circumstance that draws you in and makes you cheer for the team or player that needs it the most. The Olympics is extremely good at drawing out that magic (see Reason number 2). However, this begs the question. Where is this magic? It’s not always so obvious, a la 1980. However, the answer may be found in the home country of Russia. The home team winning in its own country is of course a story all in itself. Winning a gold medal automatically guarantees a 10/10 on the ultimate scale, but winning in your own country pushes it up to 11, ( Thank you, Spinal Tap). Let’s face it, if any team needs this, it’s probably Russia. The once mighty Soviets found their team implode with their communist regime. Russians haven’t tasted gold since 1988. In a country struggling to find it’s footing in so many areas, winning gold in hockey could boost the nation where they need it most, self worth. Ask any Russian and they’ll tell you that they would forsake all other games for that gold medal in hockey. In the end, you can’t force an x-factor, but it will show itself.

Reason number 3: Adoption
For those of us who are fans of the game of hockey, our favorite team in the NHL can be just up the road or thousands of miles away. Everyone knows that fan who is a Canadiens fan living in Boston, a Ranger living in Detroit, or heaven forbid anyone living in Chicago who is not a Blackhawk. No matter what your team, you have players that you love and cheer for who are not from that country. Canadian, Russian, Swiss, Swedish, Czech, Norwegian, etc; they all come together to form the St. Louis Blues or the San Jose Sharks. If you’re a Nashville fan, your favorite player is probably one of these four: Shea Weber, Pekka Rinne, Mike Fisher, Patric Hornqvist. Out of these four, which will be representing the USA in hockey? None. However, you have multiple Predators players representing various countries in the world. Predator fans love Shea Weber and want to see him succeed. When any of those players succeed, the Predators succeed. When you get right down to it, these adopted players from other countries that play for your team are just as vital and important to you as the players who represent your home country, maybe even more so. In the end, isn’t that what America is all about? Embracing those people who aren’t from here and raising them up as heroes and representatives of freedom?

With that, I give you my opinion on the issue I’ve been dancing around. Is it okay to cheer for other countries over the United States of America? The answer is: Yes. The best part about being American is that you can choose to cheer for whomever you want. Whether your reason is being from that country originally, identifying with the players, or even pretty jerseys. It’s your choice at the end. Will you receive criticism for that choice? Absolutely. As long as you’re willing to accept the consequences, go for it. It’s your freedom. The day that we start forcing people to cheer for one team over another is the day we lose the ideals of our country and the Olympics: Coming together in the spirit of competition despite our differences.

Will I be cheering for any other team over the United States? Hell no. Screw you, Canada. Such is my choice.

View the original article by Justin Bradford.

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