Patriotism and Honoring the Essence of the Olympic Spirit

I was raised in a sports family. Everything was sports or related to athletics in some way. When I was younger and taking piano lessons, I went so far as to asking ‘who won?’ at the end of a recital. You can’t talk very long to my dad about any subject under the sun and not get some sports analogy that actually makes complete sense. Successes and failures were wins and losses. Preparation for a project was Spring Training. Some setbacks were like the in-field fly rule – even though they didn’t seem fair, they made sense.

Our house was also a strong patriotic family. My dad served in the Army and his dad served retired from the Air Force. It wasn’t about who was president at the time or politics at all. It was about the belief that America, despite it’s flaws, was a source for good and freedom in the world, and the opportunity for people to follow their dream.

These two things combined naturally made the Olympics a pinnacle event in our house. I remember hearing stories of the 1980 USA Hockey Team defeating the Russians to advance to the finals in Lake Placid New York, the equivalent of a good college team knocking off the New England Patriots at their best. The country was in euphoria and my dad was jumping up and down so hard on the bed he broke it as they sealed that victory. For a sports fan that loves his/her country the Olympics are an aligning of the planets. To hear the National Anthem when an athlete watches the American Flag rising still makes me well up with pride.

When I watch the Olympics I can’t help but notice the immense training that goes into each of the athletes that has been their life for years. I love the back stories that Bob Costas does on athletes and their long grueling road to get to the height of their athletic performance on the world stage. For athletes that compete in the Olympics, there isn’t a guarantee of a next season, especially since the Winter and Summer Games only come every four years respectively. This narrows the window of opportunity greatly for an athlete to perform in his or her prime. This makes the heartbreak of loss and the thrill of victory that much more immense.

The Olympics is a time for the world to pause for two weeks to compete on a level playing field of sport. It is no longer about money, influence, and ideals, rather about time, scores, preparation, and love of one’s own country. No matter what country someone is from, the opportunity to compete as an athlete in front of millions of viewers all over the world is possible and the essence of this celebration. As Americans and avid sports fans, we will be cheering for the red white and blue, even in the events we know nothing about. To honor the athletes and their incredibly hard work and relentless preparation to represent Team USA in South Korea, we, at Aspinwall, launched a limited-edition collection of Aspinwall products. May it be a source of patriotism and pride as you cheer on Team USA and athletes all over the world along with us.