Ah, the Olympics. Every 2 years the world slows down a tiny bit to enjoy some positive national pride. Some years we cheer for swimmers and gymnasts and others skiers and ice skaters. Nice, mostly healthy, competitive athletics.
But as an arrogant American, it’s become quite boring as of late. Most sports have come down to such a science that we know who the winners are likely to be before the event takes place. Was anyone shocked when Michael Phelps won any of his golds in 2008? How about Usain Bolt We were pretty much expecting it.
What’s worse is the nation standings. It used to be fun as we geared up to beat the Germans. Russians, and Chinese. Now us American all sit at home expecting to win the medal count every Games. The United States has won the total medal count for the last 7 Summer Games. It’s a bit more competitive on the Winter side, but even then, we don’t get too excited about our national prospects. We don’t have a real national rival up to our level. We don’t have the excitement like when Fiji who just won their first ever medal in any games. When was the last time Americans got that excited about a victory? 1996 with Kerri Strug? 1992 Dream Team? 1980 Miracle On Ice?
What if we (Americans again…sorry world) could re-find our spirit in cheering for teams in competitive situations. But instead of U.S. vs. the World, how about Pennsylvania vs. New York. California vs. Texas. Florida vs. Michigan. That’s right! Olympic-style games played among the American states.
I call it the United States Commonwealth Games. This is stealing from the British Commonwealth Games in which 70 teams from 52 member nations compete. (I mean, holy shit the Brits have a lot under their flags.) We do the same thing over here. Each state has a chance to be represented including territories. Puerto Rico, Guam, and Washington D.C – welcome to the games.
Imagine, cheering for your home state to win a medal. Imagine confrontations between big and little states. Texas pride. South Carolina pride. Hell, even Rhode Island pride. Who wouldn’t be for all of this?
The Games could occur every 3 years at different host states. I wouldn’t advocate for a big dolled-up event like the Olympics where host cities fork up ungodly sums of money. We kept the ceremony more like a SuperBowl. Big, but not terribly expensive. Maybe shared between two states. Minnesota and North Dakota. PA and Delaware. Nevada and Idaho.
As for the sports, I wouldn’t use all the Olympic events. Just the decent ones until a proper audience is built. I would add in other games that are more American. That’s right! American Football . . . .which may be difficult if we are only conducting the games for 2 to 3 weeks (football usually takes a week off). Baseball is back in. Golf can get a hold. Basketball will be awesome.
Think about people from small states like Delaware or Rhode Island or those from small populations such as Montana and Wyoming. They have a winner in track or swimming, and the state goes wild. And for the state-by-state results, we award points. 4 points for gold, 2 for silver, 1 for bronze. Winning states get a ham.
This idea gets back to cheering again. Sure, results might be well-known before the games, but at least we get back to the competitive nature.
Think about it. Sounds pretty fun.