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Olympic virtues

Pride and unity: Two morals which are vital to the success of a country. However, they are two things often forgotten by people because of the daily grind of life. We are sometimes overburdened and oversaturated by the hard realities of life and can lose sight of who we are and what our country is about.

That is why it is good that our attention, for the past few weeks, has been diverted by the Olympics. The Olympics are more than merely a series of athletic competitions featuring the world’s greatest athletes. It’s more than an event where we can listen to the eloquence of legendary sports broadcasters such as Bob Costas and Al Michaels. It is a worldwide happening that is based on those two words – pride and unity.

Think about it. When else do so many countries in the world come together in one location without a thought of maliciousness in their hearts? Though we have a summer or winter Olympics staged every two years, it is refreshing to see some form of world unity. It is nice to see so many inhabitants of this world competing against each other in a forum where pride is at stake and not human lives.

Though the fans of the many nations in the Olympics may periodically become radical, in the end we know that the fate of the fight at hand will end in numbers concerning speed, strength, and points, instead of body counts and depleted ammunition boxes.

The Olympics are not only a healthy ritual for the world as a whole, but a healthy exercise for each and every country involved. Let us look at ourselves. The Olympics raises national pride. People all over the world, whether they are participants or the general population of a particular country, feel the pride of their country shining upon them.

Back in 1980, when Team USA beat the Soviet Union in ice hockey, it wasn’t only the players that felt the pride of being an American. It was the whole country that rallied around the victory. It wasn’t the U.S. hockey team that beat the Soviet Union. It was the United States, as a whole.

The fact that we get a reminder of what national pride feels like is important. Not the national pride that is based on arrogance and oppression. The national pride that makes your heart swell when you see your country’s flag.

Many of us here in the states are indeed very proud to be Americans. You just wouldn’t know it from reading the news. In a day and age where the American public is divided on numerous issues, it would seem that we have forgotten that we are all Americans.

The fact that some people want their own President to fail appalls me. The fact that some people don’t support their own military is yet another issue. We may not agree with the wars that our country is waging, but we should support the soldiers that have placed duty to their country ahead of their individual lives.

However, no matter our differences, national pride at the Olympics is always present. Whether it be footage of the 1980 “miracle on ice,” when goalie Jim Craig wrapped himself in the American flag, or listening to fans chant “USA!,” the amount of American pride flows strong enough that it could power our country itself.

We must not let that pride die now that the Olympic flame for 2010 has been extinguished. No matter what divisions separate our country byways of opinions, we are still all Americans.

Even at our relatively young age as college students, this reminder is not premature. A  walk past the Army ROTC building and you’ll realize there are already men and women our age fighting overseas. We are constantly reminded by the locations listed on Memorial Hall of where our path of pride and unity has led us. Whether we realize it or not, what we learn in the classroom each and every day shows us where we can take this country in the future.

So let us remember that this idea of unity needs to continue past the time of the Olympics that we have just completed. Let us remember that we should all be proud to be Americans. Let us make that pride more of our reality, for this idea of pride and unity is the key to the future of the Unites States.

Matt Kushi is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at mkushi@student.umass.edu.

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