Watching and staying up to date with the Olympics should be an Olympic event in itself. After all, it takes skill to keep up with every sport, and to stay up until the wee hours of the night to watch a sport that I had never heard of in my life.
But for some reason, the highlight of the London 2012 games has been my constant guilt trips.
This constant feeling of guilt that I feel when I don’t know which Olympians I should be cheering for: Team USA or Team Mexico.
You see, I’ve always considered myself both Mexican and American. I was born and raised for the first 7 years of my life in Mexico, and then permanently moved to California. Even though I’ve spent the majority of my life in the United States, I can’t help but to feel excited and proud when Mexican athletes are standing on the Olympic podium.
And why wouldn’t I? After all, for the first time since 1984, Mexico had two Olympians stand in the same podium, taking Silver and Bronze in Archery. The Mexican team took two silver medals and bronze in diving – and the games are just half-way done.
This weekend, however, as I cheered for Mexican diver Laura Sanchez Soto, who took the Silver medal, I felt uneasy not doing the same for her U.S. competition. I kept asking myself, why wouldn’t I cheer for the athletes that represent the country that has given me so many opportunities. Am I being a traitor?
You see, when I am cheering for a U.S. Olympian I can’t help but wonder if they went to the same High School as me or if they grew up down the street from my home back in California. Similarly, I can’t help but picture Mexican Olympians running down the same dirt road right in front of my childhood home back in the small town of Huisquilco in Jalisco, Mexico.
The reality is, behind all athletes there is a story that captures their pride, their struggle, and their hopes of being the best — the embodiment of what their country represents. And who doesn’t want their country to come in first?
I shouldn’t feel like I need to choose sides, because at the end of the day I’m the one who comes out winning. In fact, it’s not guilt I should be feeling, but rather privilege and pride, as I cheer for the two countries which have shaped me into the person I am today.