By Catherine McCarthy
Sports is human life in microcosm. ~Howard Cosell
Did you hear? There’s a big game this weekend. How big? It is estimated that 100+ million people will tune in to watch. Considering about 98% of that will be from inside the US, that works out to about 1/3 of the country. Close to as many that voted in the last presidential election.
Americans love of sports rivals our love of country. Some could say, more so. It’s probably true that folks are currently more concerned at this moment about Super Bowl point spreads and smorgasbords than who is watching a hillside, a fence line, and our skies in places where flat screens and HiDef take a far backseat to basic needs like food, shelter and freedom. But there are times in sports when our ideals of perseverance, courage, opportunity, teamwork and excellence coalesce into one beautiful moment, where we connect as TEAM USA:
Whitney Houston National Anthem 1991 Super Bowl:
Ten days after the start of Operation Desert Storm, Super Bowl XXV kicked off in Tampa with what is now considered to be the gold standard for performing the National Anthem. Dare you not to get goosebumps:
Jesse Owens 1936 Olympic Games, Berlin:
Despised by the Nazi regime not only for being American, but African American, Owens would not be cowed by hatred and went on to represent the Red White and Blue by winning four Gold Medals in Track and Field at the Olympic Games in Berlin.
Miracle on Ice:
Decades of Cold War tensions boiled over in the 1980 Winter Olympics match up between the United States and the Soviet Union on a patch of ice at Lake Placid NY. A team of amateur college players up against a state sponsored machine that had dominated Olympic gold since 1964. An underdog victory so iconic that many don’t realize that it wasn’t the gold medal event (which the US went on to win).
“For America”, Jack Buck September 17, 2001,
At the time Buck, himself a veritable institution among American Sportscasting, was sick with lung cancer struggled to maintain his composure to deliver this poignant poem first night back for Major League Baseball, less than a week after the terrorists attacks of 9-11
Since this nation was founded under God,
more than 200 years ago,
We have been the bastion of freedom,
the light that keeps the free world aglow.
We do not covet the possessions of others;
We are blessed with the bounty we share.
We have rushed to help other nations;
War is just not our nature,
We won’t start but we will end the fight.
If we are involved,
We shall be resolved,
To protect what we know is right.
We have been challenged by a cowardly foe,
Who strikes and then hides from our view.
With one voice we say,
“We have no choice today,
There is only one thing to do.”
Everyone is saying the same thing and praying,
That we end these senseless moments we are living.
As our fathers did before,
We shall win this unwanted war,
And our children will enjoy the future we’ll be giving.
Here’s to all American heroes, past and present, on and off the battlefield, and to those moments that have us all chanting, “USA! USA!” Feel free to add your favorite moments or join the convo on our Facebook page: