U-S-A...U-S-A...U-S-A

As most of my friends know...I love the Olympics. In 1996, when the Olympics were on one channel, I recorded every single hour of them. It took me 19 6-hour VHS tapes but I did it. I love watching the major team sports that we have the privilege of seeing year around but I especially love watching the obscure sports that we only get to see if every four years like air-pistol firing, dressage, and team handball. I get a great joy of watching a bar full of people cheering on swimmers and gymnasts on screens that would normally have non-Olympic baseball (we will miss you in London!) and basketball (Go Redeem Team!). Despite my Mexican-American background which I am proud of, I am 100 percent American and love the opportunity to support my country in its athletic conquests.

One thing, however, that has always bothered me is our uninspired and unoriginal chants. Regardless of the event in which the US is competing in, the only chants you're likely to hear are "U-S-A...U-S-A...U-S-A...". And you'll hear it for the whole event. Really? This is all we can do? It kills me to hear the many other chants and songs that the other nations have and all we can do is repeat the abbreviation of our country over and over.

This really came to light for me when I went to see the US play Mexico in Phoenix, Arizona during the World Baseball Classic in 2006. I proudly wore my USA jersey and saw the US beat Mexico but I was almost put to sleep by our monotonous and uncreative chanting. The Mexicans came out with all sorts of counter chants that resonated vibrantly throughout the stadium and all we could do is raise the volume and annunciation of our hypnotic drone. Some guys even resorted to saying, "Mexicans, go home!". Really?

As the US gets more and more challenged on the international athletic stage, we, as fans have an obligation to uphold. I hope that we can meet the challenge by drowning out our competition with chants that not only handicap their attempts but also encourage and motivate our teams. As a person who has lived most of his life in Chicago and Boston, I know that amazing feeling of singing "Kiss Him Goodbye" when a pitcher is taken out of a game at White Sox park or the mandatory singing of "Sweet Caroline" at Fenway. I hope that we can bring some of that same creative and electric enthusiasm to the international stage.