Friday, February 26, 2010

Should We Cheer for Our Country To Win in the Olympics?

Point: Yes, It is patriotic to cheer for your country to win.

Counterpoint: Maybe, but you don't know that guy from upstate New York any more than the guy from Quebec. They both worked hard. Does it matter who wins?

P: Well, Canada is our neighbor. I guess I could cheer for someone from there if he was not competing with the U.S.

CP: What if he was from Russia?

P: I would only cheer for Americans and possibly Canadians.

CP: But aren't we all citizens of the same earth, not individual countries?

P: Like most Americans, my heart lies with the U.S. athletes.

CP: Does it seem fair that athletes from all over the world don’t receive the same level of funding to help them train and compete at an international level?

P: The U.S. certainly takes it more seriously than many countries. We take pride in the Olympics.

CP: Many Olympians from various countries live and train here at their own expense. Doesn't it make sense to cheer for them? They put more on the line and have overcome greater odds.

P: Good for them but they are competing against the U.S. so I prefer that they lose.

CP: You probably know that getting a medal in the Olympics is low on the priority list of many countries. They lack training and facilities so they have less athletes overall. The competition is set up to be unfair.

P: Yes, but only the top athletes can go. The U.S. can send the same number of athletes in individual or team events as any country.

CP: If you compare the best athletes from a small country to the best athletes from a large country, the large country surely will win more often.

P: I agree that the U.S. has an advantage but I just can't cheer for athletes from other countries.

CP: What about U.S. born athletes that compete for other countries?

P: If they were good enough, they would be competing for the U.S. Regardless, if they are not competing for the U.S., I will not be cheering for them.

CP: Interesting. Would you be alright if they didn't mention the country for which the athletes are competing?

P: That wouldn't be any fun. Anyway, would you prefer a system where all athletes were assigned teams by lottery instead of by country?

CP: That is crazy talk.

P: No national anthems for the medal winners?

CP: That sounds extreme. Please stop.

P: How about they handicap based on genetics?

CP: I'm guessing that plan wouldn't be a ratings winner for NBC.

P: Duh...the games are about nationalism.

CP: Well, originally the Olympics were just a sporting event between individual athletes. Look, all I'm suggesting is that we enjoy the high level of competition and appreciate that these games only occur once every four years. They all must compete in the spotlight. It doesn't matter which country you came from because in the end, you must perform.

P: Whatever, dude. Can I just cheer on my fellow citizens without being hassled?

CP: Fine, if you simply must choose. By the way, who is your favorite hockey team?

P: The Islanders.

CP: You will cheer for a guy like Mark Streit when he plays for the Islanders but when he represents the Swiss hockey team, not so much?

P: You got it.

CP: At least you are consistent.

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