| | |Sports | |Cultural Comparison | | | |Lisa Bowling Today, as Americans, we are surrounded by an increasing number of very different cultures, and along with that we are surrounded by numerous cultural differences.
These differences between our culture and the cultures surrounding us deal with every aspect of life, from clothing to food to music, even our recreational activities, like sports. In our American culture we are flooded by mainstream sports such as basketball, football, and of course baseball, our “national pastime”. With the huge amount of coverage those main sports receive, Americans are sometimes unaware of what other cultures have to offer. Whether they are being played, watched, read about, or dreamed about, sports are everywhere, as are the cultural differences within them.
A brief look at five different sports will reveal just a few of these differences, ranging from variations in rules to sports that are beginning to gain popularity to sports that are almost completely unknown in the United States, as well as show the effects that differences have on our own culture. Korfball First we will introduce you to the sport of Korfball, which was founded in Holland by an Amsterdam teacher, Nico Broekhuijsen in 1903. Nico once attended a physical education workshop in Sweden. He observed a game called ringball with men and women playing together.
He liked the coeducational part of the game, so he rewrote the game, refined the rules and changed the ring goal to a basket. This basket is called de korf, which is Dutch, thus the name of the game. He wanted to have all his students be involved in a game, regardless of their gender. It is one of the few sports that involve men and women on the team. As a demonstration sport, it was introduced to the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, and then again in 1928 in Amsterdam. In 1933, the International Korfball Federation was founded in Belgium, but it asn’t until 1985 that the sport was recognized by the International Olympic Committee and also the World Games. Every four years the International Korfball Federation now holds the Korfball World Championships. Out of all the teams competing for the chance to have the championship, only two teams get to compete. Korfball is gaining popularity by many countries like Canada, Australia, England, Germany, Belgium, and South Africa. The object of the game is to shoot the ball with two hands through a cylindrical shaped basket.
It is similar to basketball, yet a little harder considering the basket is twelve feet high, attached to a single wooden post, and located in the middle of the attack zone. This differs from basketball, where the baskets are only ten feet high and are located on each end of the court. The court is about 44 yards by 99 yards that is marked by white tape. As stated before the baskets are approximately twelve feet high and are placed eleven yards from the end line. The ball itself resembles a soccer ball and is a tad bit smaller than a basketball (whether it is for men or women).
Its circumference is 27 inches, unlike the basketball that is 30 inches for men and 29 inches for women. Since Korfball is a team sport, individual excellence is critical importance, but is only when it is passed through team work. The team consists of four men and four women. Typically the women would defend the women and the men would defend the men. Korfball players catch, throw and run with the ball. It is considered a non-contact, non-collision sport. Each player has their own zone to cover and may not move from it. Each team has four players in each of the three zones.
The ball in play is moved only by hand movements. Unlike basketball, there is no dribbling, no backboards, physical contact is not allowed, slam dunks are prohibited (unlikely though since the basket is much higher), and it is a violation of rules to shoot the ball if you are guarded. Height and size of the player is not important since scoring is when the players are constantly moving, running, and perfectly passing the ball to each other. A game lasts about 90 minutes with the object of scoring de korf. Curling Next we will take a look at the up and coming sport of curling.
You may have never heard of curling until its recent emergence in the last two Winter Olympics. It is not one of the most traditional sports and there are no monstrosities of men and women participating. It is a sport known more for its grace, skill, and the ability to think through any situation that may be thrown your way. Curling has just begun to gain popularity here in the States, however it originated long ago in Scotland. The first documented games of curling were in Scotland and Holland. The Scots develop the game and formalized rules by 1807.
Scottish emigres eventually brought curling to Canada, New Zealand and the United States later in the 1800s (USA Curling), and along with that came many different variations of the game. Canada and Scotland quickly became the two powerhouses of the sport, with Canada revolutionizing the way the game was played, leaving Scotland stuck in the past. Popularity of the sport rose around the world, as the newcomers from Canada took on Scotland in the Scotch Cup matches in 1959. Controversy quickly arose from the “new style” of curling Canada was playing, as the vanquished the best Scotland had to offer.
The old met the new in the first Scotch Cup series of matches in 1959. Controversy there was aplenty in Scotland, as the Canadians of the new game vanquished the best Scotland had to offer. The International Curling Federation is now in place to provide the sport with firm guidelines and internationally accepted rules of play. The federation does leave room for change and improvement, however, as change is sure to arise from technological advances, introduction of new techniques, strategies, rules, and from the improvement of shot-making ability of individual players who strive for perfection in their chosen game (Cowan).
Now that you have a slight background on the sport of Curling, we will take a look at curling in the United States. The United States Men’s Curling Association was founded in 1958 and later renamed in United States Curling Association due to gender equality, USCA for short. The sport saw its largest growth in 1998, when curling made its full medal debut at the Nagano Olympics (Karuizawa venue). In the 2002 Olympics held in Salt Lake City, (Ogden venue) curling emerged as a surprise television hit. Later, in 2006 in Torino, U. S. curlers won their first-ever Olympic medal (USA Curling).
This sport is obviously on the rise in the American culture and maybe one day will be more widespread in the States. It will probably never be on the same level as basketball, football or baseball. But every sport has to start somewhere. Hockey When it comes to hockey, in order to discuss the cultural differences between the US and other countries, you need not look any further than to our friends up north in Canada. While we as Americans probably view our hockey league as the fourth most important sports league behind baseball, football, and basketball (those being in no particular order), Canadians cherish the sport.
It is actually the country’s official winter sport. There is no doubt that hockey has been played in Canada for centuries, still there is no definitive origin of when it was officially established. (Hockey Canada) We do know, however, that “the first organization actually dealing with the administration and development of the sport was the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada (AHAC), which was organized on the 8th of December, 1886. ” (Hockey Canada) In comparison, the National Hockey League (NHL), which is the American hockey league in existence today, did not form until 1917.
Even then, the league struggled to field more than a few teams its first couple of decades. In America over the past couple weeks, hockey has been gaining more coverage because of the Olympics, and the United States’ team’s success. The gold medal game against Canada was the most watched hockey game in history in our country, beating out our own league’s championship series. This statistic still pales in comparison to the fact that the preliminary round game against the US was one of the most viewed sporting events on in Canada’s history.
Even better, the gold medal game drew an even bigger audience and, in fact, became the most watched sporting event ever in the country. “Nearly half the Canadian population watched the entire game on average, while 80 percent of Canadians watched some part of the game (26. 5 million). ” (Vancouver Sun) As you can see, there is a huge difference in the way the sport is viewed in our two cultures. Lacrosse Another sport that is just beginning to gain more popularity in our country, and culture, is the sport of lacrosse. Again, we don’t have to look far to find where this sport is a large part of a culture.
While hockey is Canada’s official winter sport, lacrosse is the country’s official summer sport. Much like the history of hockey, the date in which the sport was invented is not certain, but it is thought to date back to the 12th century. Lacrosse, which was originally played between Native Americans in the US and Canada, flourished in the 19th century in Canada as, “the National Lacrosse Association became the first national sport governing body in North America. ” (Canadian Lacrosse Association) The sport is played both indoors and out, with leagues consisting of both types existing in Canada as well as the US.
The National Lacrosse League (NLL) was started in 1987 and is played indoors, while Major League Lacrosse (MLL) was founded in 1999 and is the outdoor version. Although these leagues have both been in existence for at least a decade, the NLL consists of only 11 teams, while MLL is made up of a meager six teams. While the number of teams in the professional ranks, and the leagues in general, are often overshadowed by the major sports in our country, the sport is the fastest growing sport in our country. “National lacrosse participation increased 8. percent in 2009, according to research by US Lacrosse for its annual participation report. There were 568,021 lacrosse players that were members of organized teams across the country in 2009, from the youth level all the way on up through the professional ranks. ” (US Lacrosse) It is estimated that participation in lacrosse in the US will double in the next ten years, and as it continues to grow in will continue to become a greater part of our culture. Football Somewhere in America a man, who is referred to as the quarterback, is standing on a field of fake grass made of astro-turf.
He is covered almost head-to-toe in enough protective padding that could possibly protect him from a car running into him. He is hurling a cow hide covered prolate spheroid through the air. He is hoping that his teammate will catch this ball without being tackled by someone from the opposing team. His goal is to run with this ball to the opposite end of the field into the opposing team’s end zone to score points. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins. This sport is known as football.
The history of American football goes back to the first half of the 19th century and its origins can be traced back to the game of rugby, which is primarily played in the UK. Walter Camp took the game of rugby and converted many of its rules into the American football we know today. Walter Camp is hailed as the “Father of American Football”. Football can be played at the high school, college, and professional level, and all levels are governed by nationally accredited associations. The Ohio League was the first professional league formed in 1903, and then in 1920 the American Professional Football Association was formed.
The first game was played in Dayton, Ohio. Many places around the world also share in playing the sport of football. They include, but are not limited to; Japan, the UK, Germany, England, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico. While these countries participate in playing the game, there are many variations in how they play the game. Australia, England, and New Zealand for example play the game of rugby. The ball is slightly larger and heavier than its American counterpart, and requires virtually no physical protective equipment. Consequently, Rugby has been called the toughest and most demanding sport in the world.
Canada, the UK, Germany and Japan have very similar football leagues compared to the US, with their rules only varying slightly. Football is one of America’s most played sports and greatest pastimes. It is as much a part of our culture as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. College football in the state of Ohio however has its own culture, and it is huge! ESPN recently ranked Ohio State football #3 in all of the college football programs dating back to 1936. You can walk in almost any grocery store or department store and find Ohio State football accessories.
Buckeye necklaces, jerseys, hats and coats are just some of the long list of items you can purchase and wear to support your team. If its game weekend, most work places not only allow but encourage you to wear something to support the team. There is even enough stuff out there to decorate the inside of your entire house. We even have our own candy! The delicious Buckeyes are the official sweet treat at any football party. Every weekend of the football playing season you can find men, women and children of all ages dressed up in their scarlet and grey huddled in front of their televisions cheering for their team.
There is nothing that can bring together or separate the tightest of friends and family than an Ohio State game. The line of loyalty to their favorite team runs deep, especially when it comes to the all-so-famous Ohio State-Michigan game. If you are brave enough to declare your loyalty to Michigan, you better get ready for some opposition from someone with scarlet and grey. Ohio State also has the best damn band in the land and Brutus the mascot to add to its long list of signature cultural items. The pay scale for football players even surpasses the salary of the President of the United States.
Sources “2009 Participation Survey. ” US Lacrosse. 01 Jan 2010. US Lacrosse, Web. 4 Mar 2010. . A Short History of Lacrosse in Canada. Canadian Lacrosse Association, 13 Jan. 2010. Web. 4 Mar. 2010. . Canada-U. S. Olympic Hockey Final Gold for TV Ratings. Vancouver Sun, 1 Mar. 2010. Web. 4 Mar. 2010. . History of Hockey Canada. Hockey Canada, 2010. Web. 3 Mar. 2010. . International Korfball Federation. International Korfball Federation, 1 Jan. 2010. Web. 2 Mar. 2010. . Korfball. Wikipedia, 26 Feb. 2010. Web. 2 Mar. 2010. .