It seems like the only time that the United States cares sports—anything anything other than football, I mean—is during the Olympics. Everyone gets excited and wears their US flag shirts, shorts, and/or underwear (yes, I’ve heard). It’s a time when everyone becomes a die-hard fan of well, everything. Suddenly everyone is a soccer fan, a volleyball fan, or a swimming fan! That’s great and everything because it really shows how patriotic we all are, but I’ve struggled with patriotism for such a long time. Understanding all of the opportunities that I’ve gotten from this country—education, jobs, and security—I still struggle with which country I identify with the most. I was born here and have built my life in the U.S. but my heart is in Latin America. It’s spread across Mexico, reaches the southern cone but lives and breathes in the United States, well, Texas. I identify with being Latin and with people who are Latin but would never change the fact that I was born in the states. I've always been very vocal about this because people ask me all the time where I'm from or what my ethnicity is. When I was abroad my friend told me, “Its what you feel. What do you feel? Mexican, American, Argentine?” That really made so much sense to me… It's about what you feel and it's okay to feel both.
I read in one of my school text books during my immigration class that one way to test peoples patriotism is to see which jersey they rooted for at a soccer game. Although that was somewhat of a joke, to a large extent I think there is a lot of truth there. The U.S women’s soccer team won the gold, of course I’m proud (especially because it was led by a Latina, Amy Rodriguez.) But I’m also proud of the fact that the Mexican Male Soccer team won the Gold as well. There's a handful of Latin athletes that participated and were successful like Diana Lopez (Tae Kwon Do), Marlen Esparza (Boxing), Melissa Gonzalez (Field Hockey), Sara Robles (Weightlifter) and Brenda Villa (Water Polo). And those are just the women!
When interviewed runner Leo Manzano who won the silver said, "Going into this Olympics, the U.S. is my home, but my roots are still in Mexico,” he said. “I live in the U.S. I’m still very much connected to my Mexican heritage, but my home is the U.S. I wouldn’t change it for the world.” He did it right. He gets it. Here's a wonderful picture taken on that day.