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.