Note August 20, 2008 

I was in a restaurant last Saturday night when the men's swimming 4x100 meter medley relay started. The band stopped playing, the room quieted, the TV volume went up, the wait staff stopped. The room was dead silent as the first leg of swimmers made their way down the length of the pool and back. With the second leg, the room started cheering in a low cadence, "go, go, go." By the time Michael Phelps hit the water for the third leg, the noise had crescendoed into an all-out roar that ended in a round of applause seconds later after anchor Jason Lezak won the race. And then the chanting began: "U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A." Earlier that night, I'd heard a few patrons arguing heatedly over the upcoming presidential election. But when it came to sport, they shouted "U.S.A." together.

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