08 Feb The USA Freediving Team: Nepalese Bricklayers
If freediving was an Olympic sport, the USA would be Nepal. As Ren and I are sitting here watching the opening ceremonies for the Winter Olympic Games, it occurred to me that most of me is seriously proud to be American. I couldn’t wait for the red, white and blue to come waltzing across the stage, flags blazing, stars shining. However, part of me is in solidarity with countries such as Nepal. Nepal encompasses the spirit of the American freediver. We are a tribe of lawyers, teachers, entrepreneurs, students, and construction workers. We are not sponsored athletes, like our Olympic counterparts. We are the everyday athletes. The Nepalese bricklayer. The backbone of America coming together once every two years to compete in the water during Team Worlds against more heavily backed countries. Against the rest of the world, rich or poor.
We get a brief moment in the spotlight, our moment to shine as brightly as one of our 50 stars. We are athletes representing our great country whose flag is recognized ubiquitously. Before the clock strikes twelve and our monofins turn back into work boots, our wetsuits to dress suits, we will have an instant to elevate ourselves. To be more for ourselves and our country than we are every other day of the year. Team Worlds, like the Olympic games, is a unique moment where time stops, political differences are laid aside, the US stands beside Russia (unlike our heads of state). Israel and Syria come together briefly in the spirit of sport. All disparities weigh evenly on the scales for a brief moment where alone or surrounded by over 200 of our peer athletes we compete together bricklayers vs. professional athletes for a gold medal or just to embody the spirit of the Olympic athlete however brief our moment may be.
Go USA…and Nepal!
Post by Ashley Futral Chapman
All commentary and opinions in this post are exclusively of the author. They do not reflect the opinions of the USFA or any other associated organizations or people mentioned.