2010 Winter Olympics: A "Bunch of Guys" Give Americans a Reason To be Proud

Scott LambsonContributor IIIFebruary 22, 2010

VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 21:  Zach Parise #9 (C) and Jamie Langenbrunner #15 of the United States celebrate after Langenbrunner scored a power play goal in the third period as goalie Martin Brodeur #30 and Chris Pronger #20 of Canada look on dejected during the ice hockey men's preliminary game between Canada and USA on day 10 of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at Canada Hockey Place on February 21, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada. Team USA won 5-3. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images


Why is it always hockey that brings out the best in America?

The answer is actually quite simple. It's not our sport.

Very rarely do we Americans have the opportunity to cheer for the American underdog. We are usually the superior, the favorite and the hunted.

But, this is simply not the case in hockey.

So when we have moments like tonight, when the underdog Americans with names few of us even recognize, triumph over the world's best and most popular Canadian team, it gives us a rare moment of joy. It's a feeling that we, the most powerful nation on earth, rarely experiences.

As far as Olympic team sports go, there are traditionally only two that generate wide spread buzz. In the Winter Olympics, it's hockey and in the summer Olympics it's basketball.

With basketball, ever since we started sending our NBA players, it has been hard to truly get behind Kobe and LeBron when they pick on the Europeans. They are just so much more superior and too famous in my opinion. Our teams are usually overshadowed by the individuals that make them up.

But in hockey, we never have the superiority or name players that the Canadians, Russians, Fins and Swedes have.

We traditionally just have a "bunch of guys," and they are usually guys that most Americans can in some way identify with.

They are a "bunch of guys" that we have never heard of before the Olympics and most likely will never hear of after the Olympics.


Because it's not our sport and Americans like it that way. We are obsessed with football, basketball and baseball. We know the big names, the big teams and we know what our expectations are.

But hockey?

Well, it's always kind of brand new to us. We tune in every four years and to be honest, we only tune in, if these "bunch of guys" start winning a game or two.

They are easy to get behind, because 95 percent of America doesn't really know anything about them, other than the fact they represent the USA.

I could guarantee you that 95 percent of Americans couldn't name more than two USA hockey players on this year's Olympic team.

But, oddly enough, that's the way we Americans like it.

So whether or not these "bunch of guys" win gold in Vancouver or even medal for that matter, we as Americans still have reason to give thanks.

For on at least one night, these "bunch of guys" gave us all that special feeling that we, the hated, most powerful, Americans rarely get to experience.

And what feeling is that?

The feeling of the "underdog triumph."

Oh, how rare and sweet it is.