The Emo Olympics

BBC Commentators this morning referred to London 2012 as “The Crying Games”.  And it truly is!  The crying, cheering, laughing, gasping, hugging, jumping, leaping about, crowing like Peter Pan games here in the UK.  Emotions are all over the place because Team GB is achieving such heights of athletic greatness.  Yorkshire, especially, is doing so well  we could compete as our own country!

I have never seen the British get so excited about their own success.  I have never seen them so patriotic.  The Jubilee didn’t do it.  The Royal Wedding didn’t do it.  The Olympics did.  It’s not an “In Your Face, World!” kind of pride.  It’s bone deep.  It’s real, true, forever love–the kind many of them perhaps thought might have been lost.  Every medal, every waving flag, every play of the national anthem has them on physically on their feet and emotionally on their knees.

To Americans this may not seem a monumental event.  We have a sense of national pride in our blood that has never faded.  Even as an ex-pat I have it.  I can’t make it past a phrase of America the Beautiful or This Land is Your Land without choking up.  I  cheered my voice hoarse over Gabby Douglass and punched the air for the revival of American Women’s Gymnastics.  

But for this British this is fresh.  This is first love  with all its giddy, restless wonder.  In previous posts I have mentioned the British aversion to patriotism.  I even feared the Olympics might be a painful experience for Britain.  Perhaps history will cite London 2012 as a contributing factor to Britain rediscovering it’s sense of self and self-love.

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5 thoughts on “The Emo Olympics

  1. Agreed – many of us have found ourselves ambushed by these feelings. I talked about some of this on my own blog, how it wasn’t (for me) the standard trappings of patriotism (flags, national anthems) but the opening ceremony’s amazing, bonkers, distillation of what I love about my country, which set the tone for the way the crowds have cheered ‘our own’, whether they were born in Somalia or Sheffield, and have cheered plucky contestants (winners and losers) whatever their country.

  2. I too loved the opening ceremony – so British! In fact so Northern……
    I agree that what really floats my boat is seeing the sheer variety of those who are proud to be British – and who are willing to go through all those agonies to win a medal for their country whether it is theirs by birth or adoption. It is often those who marry into a family who take the greatest interest in family history or have the most family pride – I guess the same goes for countries.
    I know what you mean about your fears – Brits don’t like to stand out in a crowd you see. When the whole crowd is waving a flag and shouting themselves hoarse our opinion is usually ‘it would be rude not to’. The best bit of it all is seeing what fools the Mail and the Express are making of themselves with their coverage of it all – they do not speak for the British; just for the Little Englanders. The worst bit for some will be having to say something nice about Andy Murray – I quite like the guy but for some people he is their favourite thing to moan about…

  3. Pingback: Isles of Wonder « Passing Time

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